Halloween Safety, COVID Procedures, Election Day & a Weekly Boost – A message from the superintendent

Please watch a short video from Supt. Corr and Deputy Supt. Skeals and read the message below

Dear North Colonie Families,

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already seen snow and it isn’t even the end of October. Hopefully this is not a sign of a long and snowy winter! Since tomorrow is Halloween, I wanted to remind our school community how important it is that we keep one another safe this weekend. I understand that this year is different and we may not be able to celebrate as we normally do, but like I always say, the choices our families make outside of school could greatly impact what happens in school. Please remember to practice social distancing, wear a mask and avoid large group gatherings. We are all in this together.

This past Wednesday we sent out a letter to families from the Colonie Police Department with reminders on how to stay safe, as well as CDC guidelines for Halloween. You can read the letter and guidelines here.

What does North Colonie do when there is a positive COVID case?

With the recent COVID cases in the district, I thought it would be helpful to share what happens when we find out that there is a positive case. The district can be notified of a positive case in a number of different ways. We may hear directly from the staff member or parent or we may hear from the Albany County Department of Health (ACDOH). North Colonie funnels all cases through ACDOH and we take our guidance and direction from them.

Once notified, we immediately begin the data gathering process, which includes compiling

district-based contact information on the positive case for the ACDOH. Oftentimes, we have the information about a positive test result before the ACDOH has it, especially if the person who tested positive lives in a different county. If ACDOH does not have the case information from the lab when we make the initial contact, the case is “unconfirmed” until the ACDOH receives the official notification and confirms it for us.

The district then holds a meeting of our COVID-19 response team. At that meeting, the case will be reviewed and any additional information-gathering tasks are assigned to the team members.

Next, the person who has tested positive will be contacted for an interview to begin the district-based contract tracing process. This contact would be made by the school principal or school nurse and is only shared with the Department of Health in order for them to respond to impacted people as quickly as possible. Whenever possible, the district will notify families if their student is a direct contact, so that they can begin to take appropriate action. We ask that you are patient when it comes to hearing from the local DOH.

The district follows the recommendations of ACDOH regarding the case and who needs to be excluded from school. In cases where there are a large number of positive cases or spread from one individual to the next, the district will work in consultation with the

ACDOH to determine whether any type of closure of a classroom, department or school is warranted.

Finally, the district shares a letter with staff and families notifying them of the positive case. As we are prevented from disclosing personal information about the positive case, the communications must be relatively vague in nature to protect the individual’s privacy.

As always, if you have any questions about the process, please contact your child’s school principal.

Election Day Reminder

The printed calendar that was mailed to all families in early August states that Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 3) is a Superintendent’s Conference Day. To prepare for the opening of school, the district moved all of its Superintendent’s Conference Days to the beginning of the school year. As a result, school will be in session on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Please contact your child’s principal if you have any questions.

Weekly Boost

Shaker High School senior and Key Club President Sienna Dunham took the initiative to plan and organize a Virtual Halloween Costume Contest in place of the typical Halloween parade for seniors this year. The contest will take place tonight at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom. 

“So many things are being taken away from us due to the pandemic, so I want to make sure we still have the opportunity to build memories and keep our spirits high,” Sienna said. Learn more about the event here.

Also, if you’re looking to have some fun with family and friends this Halloween weekend, we have a fun game for you, thanks to our students in Shaker Tri-M. Check out the game here.

Again, thank you all for your continued support and understanding during this difficult time. I hope you are all able to have a relaxing weekend with your family.


D. Joseph Corr
Superintendent of Schools