December 8, 2020
Dear Fort Plain Schools Community Member:
To date, the Fort Plain School District has had two adults and one student confirmed as testing positive for COVID-19. Recently, we’ve received questions about the reporting of positive cases in our area and the New York State COVID-19 Report Card/Dashboard, which lists the number of positive test results by school and district. I’d like to allay those concerns and assure you that while the dashboard is accurate, it is not necessarily timely.
In some cases, there is a delay between the time that an individual within our school community tests positive and when our district is informed of that positive case as confirmed by the Montgomery County Public Health Department. In the Fort Plain School District, the most recent person tested positive during Thanksgiving break in late November, and this information was confirmed and shared with the district on December 3. The district then shared this information with the Fort Plain Schools community.
I’d also like to note that all school districts are required to submit a report to the dashboard each day, whether or not they had any positive cases. The “last reported date” reflects when the district most recently submitted its daily information, rather than being the date of a positive test result.
Please be assured that we will continue to keep our school community informed of confirmed positive COVID-19 test results as soon as we are able to report them. We will continue to share that information via ParentSquare, Remind and email, and on our website’s news feed and Important Updates page, which also lists helpful resources and references.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your ongoing partnership and support in keeping our schools and community safe and healthy. If you have questions, please contact my office.
Superintendent of Schools
Background information: How the COVID-19 Report Card/Dashboard works
What it is
New York State collects and posts on its COVID-19 Report Card/Dashboard the number of positive COVID-19 tests of students, faculty and staff attending or working in a school district, both on-site and off-site. The dashboard is searchable and contains data for districts and schools throughout the state.
Where the numbers come from
Positive COVID-19 test results are reported for state residents age 5-17 by labs, and by school districts for students, faculty and staff. Schools receive such information from parents/guardians, faculty and staff, and from their local county health department, which confirms positive COVID-19 results as a part of the state’s contact tracing effort.
What schools must do each day
Each day, school districts must submit a report to the COVID-19 Report Card/Dashboard, regardless of whether or not they learned of any confirmed positive tests that day. Because of the daily reporting requirement for schools, the Report Card lists the last date that a district submitted any data – not just positive test results – as the “last reported date.” Therefore, the dashboard date does not necessarily reflect the most recent positive test occurring within a school district and confirmed by the local health department.
What New York State reviews
The state reviews lab and school district data before adding it to the dashboard, because, the state notes, “There may be discrepancies in the two data sets due to reporting lag times and other variables. These are two distinct and separate data sets, both designed to offer up to date information on testing, viral spread, and other relevant details regarding your school and school district. As more data is available, this will be reported on the dashboard.”
Where positive test results are confirmed
Testing information for faculty and staff begins with the county health department where they live and is shared with the county health department where they work, if it is not the same.
Beyond the data and the dashboard: How you can help keep our schools and community safe and healthy
You can help us promote health and safety by:
- Wearing masks, practicing social distancing and frequently washing your hands.
- Adhering to guidelines for family and social gatherings. (70% of COVID-19 cases have been attributed to small gatherings).
- Observing travel regulations, including quarantine and/or testing requirements.
- Staying home and keeping children home when you or they don’t feel well or are experiencing symptoms.