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Monday, June 1, 2020

Top Stories > Health

As COVID-19 cases increase, changes continue to be made

Mar 26, 2020

By Democrat Staff

By: PATRICIO ROBAYO | DEMOCRAT
The Fallsburg Central School District will remain closed through April 15.
SULLIVAN COUNTY -- Sullivan County has confirmed 59 cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday. Keep in mind that these numbers are being consistently updated with the number of confirmed cases expected to rise.
“Assume community transmission is widespread, regardless of where you live” Public Health Director Nancy McGraw said. “But you can greatly limit your risk by staying at home, regularly washing your hands with soap and water, and calling your healthcare provider or hospital if you have a fever, cough and/or shortness of breath.”
Sullivan County's Public Health Services Call Center (292-5910) and Emergency Community Assistance Center (807-0925) continue to be staffed during weekdays, and voicemails left after hours will be answered as soon as possible.

Government center closed
Effective Wednesday, Sullivan County Manager Joshua Potosek ordered the Government Center in Monticello to be closed to the public, including the Annex, which houses Family Court (which is closed) and the Probation Department (which is handling all matters by phone and email).

The Board of Elections will have limited availability by appointment only.
“The only reason any member of the public should be visiting the Government Center is either a scheduled visit with Board of Elections personnel or to drop off materials for the County Clerk's Office, DMV or the County Treasurer's Office - and then only in the dropboxes located in the lobby and by the Treasurer's door,” Potosek said. “None of our offices in that building will be open to the public, even if the lights are on and staff can be seen through the windows. Security will remain present to ensure this order is followed, for the safety of County employees continuing to work in the Government Center.”
The Care Center at Sunset Lake continues to be closed to public visitation as well. Those seeking to access other portions of the County's Liberty campus, or the County Courthouse in Monticello, should call ahead before visiting.
In other news, Sullivan County Public Health Services has notified providers that all Early Intervention (EI) and Committee for Preschool Special Education (CPSE) direct/face-to-face services are suspended until further notice. Families will be notified as well.
EI telehealth services can continue until April 6, per State guidance. However, the NYS Education Department indicated that telehealth is not approved for CPSE at this time.
Also, the Sullivan County WIC (Women, Infants and Children) offices in Liberty and Monticello are no longer open to the public, though they continue to accept calls and emails.
McGraw said, “Families will continue to have access to our staff at their scheduled appointment times via phone and can call the office with questions at 845-513-2233.”

Legislature consolidates meetings
The following committees of the Sullivan County Legislature will NOT meet in the month of April: Public Safety and Law Enforcement; Government Services; Economic Development; Planning, Community Development, Real Property and Capital Planning and Budgeting; Human Resources; Veterans; Health and Family Services; Management and Budget; Parks, Agriculture and Sustainability; and Public Works.
The Executive Committee will meet Thursday, April 16 at 9 a.m., while the Full Board meeting will be held as scheduled on Thursday, April 16 at 10 a.m. Both meetings will be livestreamed, with the link on the county's website.
In other news, Public Health Services' rabies clinic, scheduled for April 1, has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

School District update
In a press release on the Liberty Central School District website on Tuesday, it was announced that a member of the school community has tested positive for COVID-19.
This positive diagnosis of an adult is the district's first confirmed case of COVID-19. The adult, who is recovering at home, works in the High School and was last on school grounds on March 13. The district has been closed to students since March 12, and according to the district, all school buildings are being thoroughly sanitized and disinfected, and The Sullivan County Department of Health has been notified.
“The reality is it's here, just as it is in many other places,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore. “We must continue to take the advice of health experts and practice social distancing, proper hand-washing, and other preventative measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve.”
While most county schools are closed until April 1, the Fallsburg Central School District recently made the decision to remain closed through April 15.
The district, like others across the county, were first closed by an Emergency Order of the Sullivan County Manager on March 14. At that point they were told they must use available snow- and vacation days to account for that closure. However, Governor Cuomo then ordered a school closure from March 18-31, with schools scheduled to be in session on April 1. On March 20 the district was advised that the Governor's closure would not require school districts to use available snow and vacation days for the period of March 18-31. Therefore, after the governor's notice on March 20, the Fallsburg CSD had four snow days and six vacation days remaining.
“The plan, presently, is to keep our schools closed to students through April 15, with a tentative reopening on April 16, unless we are directed to remain closed by local or state officials,” said Fallsburg Superintendent of Schools Dr. Ivan Katz in a letter on the district's website. “We plan to introduce home instruction for students beginning on April 3. This will continue without interruption until our schools reopen for students (April 16 or thereafter).”
The New York State Board of Regents and state Education Department recently announced that the elementary-and-intermediate-level state assessments for Grades 3-8 have been suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
“It is most important that during the time of closure, schools are able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs, as they have been doing, and not be concerned about state assessments,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and Interim State Education Commissioner Shannon Tahoe said in a statement. “NYSED has applied for federal waivers for testing, accountability and reporting requirements.

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