Officials in the Kingston City School District are closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus and hoping to reassure faculty, parents and students that they’re doing everything possible to prepare for the possibility of the virus reaching the district.
Superintendent Paul Padalino on Tuesday said school officials are staying in near constant contact with local experts to ensure they’re doing everything possible to be prepared. Until further notice, schools across the district will remain open.
“This is an evolving situation, but we’re going to remain vigilant,” said Padalino. “We know there’s a lot of anxiety out there between parents, students and teachers. I’m taking my marching orders from the Ulster County Department of Health, and what they say goes as far as I’m concerned. I’m an expert in education, but they’re the experts in community health. When we have questions we’re calling them, and we’re doing everything we can to keep out students, our faculty and staff, and the community safe.”
Padalino said nurses are spending time in classrooms and assemblies, reinforcing the need to extra caution, sharing techniques for the most effective way to combat the spread of germs by washing hands, reminding students to cough and sneeze into a sleeve or tissue rather than their bare hand, and to avoid touching their faces.
The district has made hand sanitizer available in all of its buildings, and custodial staff are taking extra care with disinfecting procedures and cleaning more frequently than usual.
The district has already seen a disruption in plans, as the school board last week declined to support an educational trip to Costa Rica planned by 14 Kingston High students for the April 4-13 spring break. The unanimous 7-0 decision was reached at a school board meeting last week.
“That was based on an overabundance of caution,” said Padalino, adding that there may be more cancellations on the way.