February 12, 2021
Dear Berlin families,
Our Berlin students are counting on all of us to maintain a positive, safe, and consistent learning
environment during this ongoing pandemic. Thank you for providing your continuous support during these challenging times.
If you are planning to travel for the upcoming winter recess (Feb. 15-19), we ask that you carefully consider what impact this could have on our larger Berlin Central School District community, and most importantly, on our students. Please be aware that the NYS travel advisory is modified and updated routinely. It can be found here: https://coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-travel-advisory
According to the most recent guidance from the state, all travelers entering New York from a noncontiguous state (or from a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice country), shall quarantine for a period of 10 days (but must continue monitoring for symptoms through day 14, and if any develop, immediately self-isolate and contact the local health department or healthcare provider to report this change and determine if they should seek testing), consistent with Department of Health regulations, unless:
- Travelers who traveled outside of New York for more than 24 hours must obtain a test within 3 days of departure, prior to arrival in New York State.
- Upon arrival in New York, the traveler must quarantine according to Department of Health guidelines, for a minimum of three days, measured from the time of arrival.
- On day four, the traveler may seek a diagnostic test, and can exit the quarantine upon receipt of the second negative test result.
Contiguous states are Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. Travelers from these states are not subject to this guidance but must continue to fill out the traveler health form.
The form can be found at: https://forms.ny.gov/s3/Welcome-to-New-York-State-Traveler-Health-Form
Travelers who leave New York State for less than 24 hours do not need to obtain a diagnostic test before departing and do not need to quarantine upon return. However, such travelers must fill out the traveler health form upon entry and must obtain a diagnostic test on the fourth day after arrival in New York.
The CDC announced this week the recommendation to double mask. This includes wearing a mask with 2 or more layers OR wearing a disposable mask underneath a cloth mask. A mask with layers will stop more respiratory droplets from getting inside or escaping from your mask if you are sick. Make sure your mask fits snugly against your face. Gaps can let air with respiratory droplets leak in and out around the edges of the mask.
Important Update Regarding CDC Change in Quarantine Policy for Fully Vaccinated Individuals:
School staff are currently being vaccinated as part of the state’s 1b phase. We are hopeful that a recent state and CDC change will help reduce the need for staff quarantines within our buildings over the next several months, particularly as the test positivity rate continues to decline in our county and region.
New York State has aligned with updated CDC guidance eliminating quarantine requirements for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 who are exposed to someone suspected or confirmed of COVID-19.
Please note that individuals must meet the following criteria to avoid quarantine:
- Are fully vaccinated (two weeks after their final dose)
- Are within 3 months of receiving their final dose
- Have remained asymptomatic since the COVID-19 exposure
Individuals who fail to meet all three criteria must continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Vaccinated individuals should continue to follow the state travel advisory according to the updated CDC guidance.
All school staff (including those who are fully vaccinated) and students should continue to follow our COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands often, and staying home if they are sick.
While we understand that many of us may have special family circumstances, traditions, destination vacations, and relatives residing in noncontiguous states (or a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice country), please take special COVID-19 precautions if you are considering travel outside of New York during winter recess. If you are staying locally within New York state, or having family come visit, please keep in mind that we, as a community, can continue to do our part in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by following CDC guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing.
A. Joseph Dhara
Superintendent of Schools
Berlin Central School District