Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan announced Saturday that Ulster County has developed and will implement a countywide Rapid Response plan to support all local school districts as they begin reopening in September and October. On Tuesday, Ryan spoke with school Superintendents from all nine districts within Ulster County 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 PPE for students and faculty.
Ulster County will provide nearly 30,000 masks 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 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% committed to working with our school districts to ensure a safe environment. Our team is prepared to provide any and all resources to our schools and we will closely monitor the public health situation in order to proactively respond to any potential public health scenario.”
Since Ulster County’s first case of COVID-19 emerged in early March, Ulster County has taken a proactive approach to control and counter the pandemic. On March 13, Ulster County was the first County to close schools ahead of the statewide decision to do so. Additionally, Ulster County is believed to be the first County to set up a fully staffed COVID-19 hotline when the first case appeared. In June, Ryan successfully led an effort to proactively test all nursing homes in Ulster County, a model later adopted throughout New York State.