Superintendent Blog Post - December 10, 2020

Posted by Victoria Jackson on 12/10/2020

Dear Beacon Community:

I hosted a virtual town hall last night where the focus was on changes to the state microcluster strategy and also our initial planning on potential COVID-19 testing in the Beacon City School District.  

You can watch the presentation here:

Here is a quick summary: 

Micro-Cluster Zones:

Yellow, Orange, and Red zones are part of the state micro-cluster strategy and the state has made changes to how schools respond to this designation.  We would be notified 48 hours in advance of a zone designation.  The state makes this calculation.

If we are a yellow zone, we would have to test 20% of our in-person students and staff within two weeks.  If results are lower than the zone’s current rate, testing is no longer required.

If we are an orange zone, schools can stay open if 20% of in-person students and staff are tested over a one month period.

If we are a red zone, we can remain open if 30% of in-person students and staff are tested over the one month period.  

If random testing sampling generates 9 or more positive cases in any school, or if the positivity rate reaches 3% or higher, then the school will be required to close for a period of time.


We are working on preparing for COVID-19 testing if we are in one of the zones and we are also preparing for testing because we would like to start it even if we are not in one of the zones as an extra layer of safety.

The tests are rapid and involve a quick swab of both nostrils.  Our nursing staff would conduct the tests.  Parent consent forms will be sent out early next week to prepare for this possibility.  On testing days, we would most likely go remote for the day so our staff can focus on testing and parents can be with their children for the test.  To proceed with this we will be working with the state and county to get our plan approved and we will keep the community updated.

Closures, Weather Related Closures, and Requests to Switch to In-Person

I want to remind everyone that we still may need to close a school or schools due to the number of staff or students quarantining at any given time.  On weather days, schools can be closed and we will continue with remote learning and schools may be closed and we will have no remote learning.  We want to use the snow days we have in our calendar but not use so many days that we lose things like spring break.  Finally, Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School will review and accept requests for returning to in-person hybrid on a rolling basis space dependent.  Elementary schools will accept requests but not be able to honor them until mid-January.  Honoring these requests may involve a switch of teacher, cohort days, or even school space dependent.

Let me know if you have any questions and I will be back in touch soon!


Matt Landahl