The coronavirus has hit Orange and Ulster counties hard, forcing schools to close and many events to be postponed. So far five Ulster County and 11 Orange County residents have been confirmed with the virus.
The Wallkill Central School District will be closed through Friday, March 27, per the County Executive’s Order. There will be no extracurricular activities during that time.
“We currently have four unused emergency days and six vacation days that were scheduled for our April Spring Recess that will now be applied toward our school closure for the next two weeks,” said Superintendent of Schools Kevin Castle. “Therefore, the next two weeks were days off that were already built into our school calendar. If we return to school on Monday, March 30, 2020, we will still meet the State’s student attendance requirement (180 days).”
Castle added that if the District is directed to close school beyond the current two weeks, then a student learning plan will be provided. The District is currently building a webpage that will contain learning activities for students in grades K-12 and parents/guardians will be notified when the page is up and running. The District anticipates that the project will be finished by the end of this week.
If students receive free and reduced breakfast/lunch and are in need of food they should complete the Food Order Form posted on the District’s website. A food package will be assembled that will provide food through March 27. These requests will be processed for pick-up on Wednesday, March 18 at the High School Cafeteria from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Those who need a delivery should contact the District at 845-895-7102.
On Friday, Orange County Executive Steven Neuhaus issued an Executive Order calling on schools within Orange County to close for the next two weeks. As a result of this order, all Pine Bush Schools will be closed beginning on Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 27. This includes all before/after school and all extracurricular activities.
Academic enrichment packages have been posted on the District website. There is coursework available for grades Pre-K-5.
“This work will not be graded; it is for enrichment purposes to keep our students engaged in learning during the next several weeks while schools are closed,” said Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Donna Geidel. “Fourteen days of enrichment are provided for each grade level.”
Parents may download each packet and print them at home. If a family does not have access to a printer at home, paper copies will be available at all four elementary schools. A plan for pick up will be posted once the Board of Education coordinates with the principals. The District encourages each student to do some academic work each day. They also recommend students read each day.
While students remain home, some staff will still need to work. Mains noted that it may be necessary to call in selected staff during the school closure, but if they do, they will always provide more than 24 hours notice to give affected personnel the ability to make childcare arrangements.
Pine Bush’s School Nutrition Department will continue to provide for all children in the community by ensuring that they continue to have access to balanced meals. There are three meal distribution sites: Circleville Middle School, Pine Bush High School and at Family Church in Middletown. Meal service started on Tuesday, March 17. Meals will be served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Anyone under the age of 19 may take two breakfasts and two lunches for a total of four meals per day. They are not required to be a Pine Bush student. Children do not have to be with a parent for them to pick up meals.
Unlike the Wallkill and Pine Bush School Districts, Valley Central will be closed for the next three weeks.
Classes will resume on Tuesday, April 14 after the Spring Break Recess. During this time there will be no extracurricular activities or events including athletic practices or contests. All use of the buildings and fields by outside organizations, including the pool, is also canceled.
“We will continue to communicate with families and staff through all means available to us including through the District website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as using School Messenger about alternative plans for learning activities and other important information concerning the school district,” said John Xanthis, Superintendent of the Valley Central School District. “Visit the Academics section of our district website where there are links to help students and families find instructional materials and activities.”
Like school districts, municipalities have been hit hard by the coronavirus.
As per Gov. Andrew Cuomo, only those restaurants and eating establishments that offer takeout or delivery service may be open. Gyms and movie theatres have also been ordered to close. Gatherings of more than 50 persons in any place are prohibited.
The Galleria at Crystal Run announced new hours on Monday: 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Weekdays and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Town of Crawford
Effective 5 p.m. Friday, March 13, Crawford Town Supervisor Charles Carnes declared a local State of Emergency due to the coronavirus. This is to ensure that the town can apply for funding for reimbursement for the expenditures during the emergency until further notice. It also enables them to enact further regulations as may be necessary.
“This does not restrict travel but we encourage everyone to take necessary precautions during this time to curb the spread of this illness,” Carnes said.
The Town of Crawford Senior and Community Center will be closed through March 30 and may be extended if the need arises. The Crawford Town Hall will be open for essential services only. Courts are closed until further notice and all public hearings for Town, Zoning and Planning Boards are canceled for two weeks.
Town of Montgomery
The Town of Montgomery also declared a State of Emergency declaration. Montgomery Town Supervisor Brian Maher announced on Friday that all town residents should limit their trips to Town Hall, unless it is an emergency and to please call ahead of time using email, phone or fax.
From March 13-27, most court, town meetings and all other gatherings at Town Hall will be postponed. Residents are asked to call 845-457-2600 for any specific inquiries.
The one exception to the ban on town meetings will be a special meeting of the town board on March 18 to discuss the proposed town wide building moratorium.
The Montgomery Nursing Home has also taken precautions, prohibiting visitors from visiting patients.
Town of Gardiner
Due to the coronavirus, the Town of Gardiner has issued a State of Emergency with an Executive Order to close Town Hall offices effective immediately. Offices will reopen on Monday, March 30.
All Town of Gardiner meetings and events have been canceled through the end of March 2020.
Town of Shawangunk
The Town of Shawangunk canceled the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 18 and the Town Board meeting on March 19.
Village of Montgomery
The Village of Montgomery was also affected by the coronavirus. Village meetings will be canceled this week. Village Offices will be open, but people should call the office at 845-457-9661, if they have village business rather than coming in. Starting March 11, the Village of Montgomery Senior Center will be closed for senior activities, including the Senior Dining Program, until further notice, due to the coronavirus concerns.
Village of Walden
The Village of Walden has been in a State of Emergency due to declared Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Although there is no immediate threat at this time, this declaration will allow Village departments to respond to potential concerns that may arise and protect our residents,” said John Revella, Village Manager of the Village of Walden. “This will also allow our Village to be eligible for aid that may be needed in the coming weeks.”
Village of Maybrook
Maybrook remained light on cancellations, with Monday’s budget work session being the lone cancellation for Village Hall.
Grocery stores have also been affected by the coronavirus. Hand sanitizer, spray disinfectant and rolls of toilet paper are flying off the shelves. Customers compete with one another for rolls of toilet paper. Canned foods are also being purchased at a fast rate because they take longer to expire.
Those with coronavirus can be tested at Orange Regional and at the Wallkill Valley Health Center at Walden.
Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman advised that the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the flu and other droplet-spread viruses continues to be to practice basic, common sense personal hygiene. This includes washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, refraining from touching your face and avoiding unnecessary contact with others. If someone feels ill, they should contact their health provider first.