Dear Byron-Bergen Families,
As you are aware, the rate of COVID-19 infections is rapidly increasing throughout Western New York. Governor Cuomo has developed a new strategy of monitoring and responding to outbreaks of new cases within a limited and definable geographic region, which are called micro-clusters. Our community and schools have diligently followed the health and safety protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Despite everyone's best efforts, a rising community spread of the virus in the near future could impact our in-person teaching and learning model.
The Governor's micro-cluster strategy uses multiple data points such as positivity rates, hospitalizations, population density, contact tracing efforts, etc. to identify a geographic area by region, county, or zip code. Once an area has been identified, the local Departments of Health engage in containment efforts. This includes identifying a micro-cluster zone with a color to indicate the severity of the outbreak. The possible color-coded micro-cluster zones are as follows for Genesee County (Tier 3):
Yellow Zone: 7-day rolling average of positive tests above 3.5% for 10 days and 15 or more new cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day average.
Orange Zone: 7-day rolling average of positive tests above 4.5% for 10 days and 15 or more new cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day average.
Red Zone: 7-day rolling average of positive tests above 5.5% for 10 days and 15 or more new cases per 100,000 residents on a 7-day average.
If our schools are designated to be in a yellow zone micro-cluster, our campus could remain open to in-person learning and teaching, however, we would be required by the Department of Health to randomly identify and test 20% of our students and staff each week until the data points drop below the zone thresholds. If we could not meet these testing requirements, we would have to transition to full remote learning and instruction. If identified in an orange or red zone, we would need to transition to full remote learning and instruction for at least 2 weeks. All students, faculty, and staff must have a negative COVID-19 test result before returning to in-person schooling. We would also need to continue testing 25% of our students and staff each week.
Currently, Genesee County is below the positivity rate for a 7-day rolling average and is not identify as a Yellow Zone, which is good news, but it is important for all of us to be mindful of these situations. At any time, we all must be prepared to transition temporarily to remote instruction, when necessary.
As always, I will keep you informed of any changes to the educational environment within our buildings and campus.
I urge everyone to protect themselves and others by taking precautions. We are a strong community and the best way we can show that strength is by social distancing, wearing face coverings, and staying home at the first sign of illness.
Take care of yourselves and each other,