Ulster County executive Pat Ryan reports that a rapid response plan is being developed to help with the reopening of Ulster County schools in September and October. Ryan spoke with school superintendents from all nine Ulster County districts within Ulster County last week to discuss the county’s plan to support them. The five-part plan will focus on setting guidelines for proper screening and testing processes, investigating positive cases through contact tracing, offering support for school-specific isolation plans, establishing a communication plan between the county and individual school districts, and providing protection for students and faculty.
Nearly 30,000 masks will be available for students and staff at school districts planning on opening in Ulster County. The county will also provide public-health nurses on standby to advise the school districts and to respond to potential clusters of positive cases and other health-related scenarios. Additionally, the county is finalizing plans to test all school staff prior to schools reopening for in-person instruction.
“As a parent, I understand the anxiety and concern that so many parents, teachers and students are feeling right now about reopening schools,” Ryan said. “My top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our residents and we are 100 percent committed to working with our school districts to ensure a safe environment. Our team is prepared to provide any and all resources to our school, and we will closely monitor the public health situation in order to proactively respond to any potential public-health scenario.”
Ulster County has taken a proactive approach to control and counter the pandemic, Ryan said. “On March 13, Ulster County was the first county to close schools ahead of the statewide decision to do so,” said Ryan. “Additionally, Ulster County is believed to be the first county to set up a fully staffed Covid-19 hotline when the first case appeared.”