• CV

    April 3: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills

    We understand there has been uncertainty among some parents and staff members as to whether students and employees will be required to learn and work through the scheduled spring vacation, including Good Friday. The answer from the governor’s office is “YES.” Taconic Hills will continue home learning activities, meal delivery, and childcare Friday, April 10, through April recess.

    Childcare

    We are continuing to provide childcare for children of parents employed as Emergency Service Personnel and Healthcare Workers. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information. 

    Mr. Hamm

    It is with great sadness that we pass along news of Mr. Hamm's passing. Mr. Hamm grew up in the district, attended school at Taconic Hills, and was a music teacher for more than 30 years. Lyle was also a great family man, lifeguard, instructor, civic icon, and volunteer who went on to substitute at the school he loved for 16 years after his retirement. He loved Taconic Hills and all of its students. He was a wonderful caring man with a great sense of humor and passion to teach students.

    Mr. Hamm left an indelible mark on countless students during his life. Many have fond remembrances of their experiences with "Hammie".

    There are plans to set up a scholarship in his name and honor his legacy in the coming months. The family will hold a private burial and will be hosting a public memorial service at a later date. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this time. 

    https://www.batesanderson.com/obituaries/Lyle-Hamm/

    Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support during this unprecedented time..

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    Instruction, food service and childcare support to continue through spring break

    April 1, 2020

    Dear Taconic Hills Community,

    On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order closing schools across New York state until at least April 15. This period includes scheduled days off during our Spring Recess (April 13-17). The mandate left school districts questioning whether the mandate included originally scheduled days off. 

    Based on guidance from the Governor's Office:

    “Districts must continue to provide remote instruction for students, meals for students, and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020, and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on spring break during that time.”

    Therefore, we will continue to provide instruction, meals to families and childcare for essential workers during the April break. The state will reassess whether to extend the statewide school closure past April 15th. 

    I, like you, am disappointed that we are unable to provide a much-needed and well-earned break for students, teachers, and families. Understandably, your children (and many parents) will be disappointed by this news. Please remind them that we are dealing in unprecedented times and these setbacks are short-term, and your family and our district are here to help. Making them aware of the many supports in place if they experience anxiety. As always, we are eternally grateful for your partnership.

    We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation and we know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities. Let’s stay in this together. Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 27: Weekend Update - Classes Cancelled until April 15th

    Good afternoon everyone. We are learning more information about the spread of the Coronavirus every day. While this has been a challenging period for everyone, we really appreciate the support of our community, teachers, staff, parents and students during this time. Classes are cancelled until April 15th.  As you know this is the middle of spring recess and will be working to determine what that means for the students of Taconic Hills CSD. We continue to monitor information from Columbia County, the Governor of NY, NYSED and several other local, state and federal agencies.   

    This week we modified our meal distribution to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We will continue with that plan ongoing. We have also been working with teachers and parents to send information back and forth between school and home. 

    On Wednesday of this week we began providing childcare to children of parents employed as Emergency Service Personnel and Healthcare Workers. This will continue during the school cancellation. If you are an eligible family based on the NYSED guidelines, please contact Lisa Reis by email at lreis@taconichills.k12.ny.us to find out more information. 

    Please continue to check the COVID-19 page on the District website for the latest updates. This page also has links to request help with instructional plans, tech support and meal distribution. This pandemic is evolving and changing daily, so we want to make sure we are providing you with the resources and support that each family needs. 

    Be well and stay healthy.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr
    Superintendent, Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 19: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Today Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order mandating that businesses (including schools) require in-office personnel to decrease in-office workforce by 75 Percent. 

    As a result of this Executive Order, going forward, we ask that parents use email as the preferred method of communication with school staff. We will still have access to phone systems, but some personnel will be working from home during this period. 

    We will also be consolidating our meal deliveries to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each child will receive 2 Breakfast and 2 Lunches on both Monday and Wednesday and 1 on Friday. Teachers, parents, and students should take advantage of these delivery times to send work between school and home.

    If you would like to pick up your child’s medication or equipment from the School Nurse, please come to the entrance to your child’s school from 10:00AM-Noon on Friday March 19th. School nurses will be available to help during this timeframe. If you are not available during this time please email Kathy Keyser (Elementary) or Cory Leggett (Jr/Sr HS) to arrange pick up.

    While thankfully there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Columbia County, we are taking this precaution to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus consistent with the guidance of local and state officials. We appreciate the support of the Taconic Hills community during this time and will continue to keep you informed as any situation arises.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools


    March 16: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Update: Classes Canceled Wednesday, March 18 Through Wednesday, April 1

    At this time, we are moving the Superintendent's Conference Day previously scheduled for Friday, 3/20/20 to tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/17/20. We will use the day to continue long-term planning. No students will be in attendance tomorrow, Tuesday, 3/17/20. 

    The District will continue to provide nutritious meals to our students when there are no classes. Families wishing to receive breakfast and lunch when there is no school should complete the following Google Form.
    If you do not have access to a computer, please contact Pam Strompf, Food Services Coordinator at (518) 325-2885. Leave your name, student name(s), bus name, phone number, and address including street, town/village and zip code.
    During this week, meals will be delivered to your child’s morning bus stop approximately 3 hours later than normal time (e.g. - 7:28AM stop would arrive at 10:28AM).


    Sincerely,
    Dr. Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools
    Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 15: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    UPDATED at 4:00pm on March 15, 2020

    Dear Taconic Hills Families and Community, 

    In anticipation of a State of Emergency being declared by Columbia County tomorrow, Monday, March 15th, the Taconic Hills Central School District will have the authority to cancel classes on an extended basis from Wednesday (3/18) through Friday (3/27). 

    While classes are cancelled, we plan to provide meals for all students and are working to set this up as soon as possible. We will notify families in the coming days about how this will take place. 

    On Monday and Tuesday (3/16 & 3/17) students and staff will be in session. We encourage parents to please send children to school on these days so we can supply them with needed materials for the remainder of the week. Friday (3/20) is a planned Superintendent's Conference Day for staff that will still be held.

    At a meeting with local superintendents in the Questar region this afternoon, we learned there continues to be no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Columbia County. However, the situation continues to evolve rapidly and we will be communicating with you as developments impact our planning. 

    We will continue to follow guidance from our local government, health and state education departments and provide additional information as soon as possible. Please continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations – including thorough handwashing – to stay safe and healthy. If you are sick, please consult with a physician. Columbia Memorial Hospital has a COVID-19 hotline (518-329-5902) with testing available for anyone who has the symptoms of the Coronavirus.

    Sincerely,

    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools
    Taconic Hills Central School District


    March 15: Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members,

    While the Taconic Hills Central School District does not currently have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus [COVID-19] within our school community, we are continuing to prepare for the potential for school to be shut down. 

    Students in Grades 6-12 are asked to bring their laptops and chargers and textbooks home with them each day. Students in the Elementary are being sent home with lessons based on the possibility of closure. These lessons are only to be used in the event of school closure.

    We are taking further precautionary measures based on the most recent guidance from the New York State Department of Health, Columbia County Department of Health and other agencies to help reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. 

    Events Postponed - All after-school events have been postponed or canceled until further notice. Success Fest & Dodgeball have been canceled for this weekend with a new date set for the beginning of the next school year. Grades 3-4 Concert scheduled for next week is postponed.

    Closings - The Pool and Fitness center will be closed to the public until further notice (effective today 3/13). All outside events (use of PAC, gymnasiums, outside fields, etc) on campus have been canceled.

    Athletics - Spring sports will continue with practices. All scrimmages, games and meets are postponed at this time.

    Before & After School Program will continue to operate as scheduled at this time.

    Board meetings and workshops will continue along as planned. 

    These closures and postponements will minimize the risk of contagions and allow for our Buildings and Grounds staff to continue to clean and maintain a healthy campus.

    We are receiving continuous updates from local, state and federal agencies and are taking these measures out of an abundance of caution. We appreciate the support of the Taconic Hills community during this time and will continue to keep you informed as any situation arises.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools


    March 13: Weekend Update from Taconic Hills Regarding Coronavirus [COVID-19]

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members,

    While the Taconic Hills Central School District does not currently have any confirmed cases of novel coronavirus [COVID-19] within our school community, we are continuing to prepare for the potential for school to be shut down. 

    Students in Grades 6-12 are asked to bring their laptops and chargers and textbooks home with them each day. Students in the Elementary are being sent home with lessons based on the possibility of closure. These lessons are only to be used in the event of school closure.

    We are taking further precautionary measures based on the most recent guidance from the New York State Department of Health, Columbia County Department of Health and other agencies to help reduce potential exposure to COVID-19. 

    Events Postponed - All after-school events have been postponed or canceled until further notice. Success Fest & Dodgeball have been canceled for this weekend with a new date set for the beginning of the next school year. Grades 3-4 Concert scheduled for next week is postponed.

    Closings - The Pool and Fitness center will be closed to the public until further notice (effective today 3/13). All outside events (use of PAC, gymnasiums, outside fields, etc) on campus have been canceled.

    Athletics - Spring sports will continue with practices. All scrimmages, games and meets are postponed at this time.

    Before & After School Program will continue to operate as scheduled at this time.

    Board meetings and workshops will continue along as planned. 

    These closures and postponements will minimize the risk of contagions and allow for our Buildings and Grounds staff to continue to clean and maintain a healthy campus.

    We are receiving continuous updates from local, state and federal agencies and are taking these measures out of an abundance of caution. We appreciate the support of the Taconic Hills community during this time and will continue to keep you informed as any situation arises.

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools

    Attached Letter from Columbia County School Superintendents


    March 10: Coronavirus Update from Taconic Hills

    Dear Parents/Guardians & Community Members,

    While the Taconic Hills Central School District does not have a confirmed case of novel coronavirus [COVID-19] within our school community, we are monitoring information from local, state and federal officials about new cases. If the district becomes aware that one of our students or staff members is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify our community via email and on our website. 

    Preventative Measures
    For now, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your children is to follow the standard preventive practices for influenza. There are a number of steps that students, staff and community members can take to minimize the spread of all respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, according to the New York State Department of Health:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Heavily soiled hands should be washed.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    More information about COVID-19 is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state Department of Health also has information available on its website, including a Coronavirus hotline.

    Campus Cleaning Procedures
    Our custodial staff members clean our buildings thoroughly every evening and we are taking special precautions to wipe down “high-touch surfaces” with cleaners that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and effective against coronavirus. We are also routinely deep cleaning buses.

    School Events
    Taconic Hills is taking precautions to ensure that our community is practicing good hygiene for community events (concerts, Success Fest, Dodgeball). Hand washing stations are always available during events and visitors are encouraged to take preventative measures to avoid spreading any germs. As always, please do not come to school if you are sick. Any student or attendee who demonstrates signs of illness may be asked to leave the event as a preventative safety measure.

    Field Trips/Conferences
    We continue to monitor any travel by staff and students and make decisions on a case-by-case basis. We have scaled back some of our out of District events as a precautionary measure. We continue to monitor the situation and how it may affect upcoming travel and share information with any affected groups as it becomes available.

    We appreciate your support of our district and will share more information as it becomes available via email and on our district website at https://www.taconichills.k12.ny.us/

    Sincerely,
    Neil L. Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools 


    March 3: Letter to Taconic Hills Parents, Staff & Community Regarding Coronavirus

    Dear Parents, Staff and Community

    I want to reach out regarding the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV). At this time, there are no positive cases in our area and two documented cases in New York State (New York City and Westchester County). However, given the media attention and the importance of your child's health and safety, we want to share some basic information about the coronavirus and ways to stay healthy.

    The district is monitoring the situation and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NYS Departments of Health and Education and the Columbia County Department of Health. The district has infectious disease protocols in place and has been focused on cleaning and disinfecting all school areas including classrooms, cafeterias and school buses to help minimize the spread of viruses and a variety of other illnesses.

    At this time, there is no need to cancel school or social events. With that said, our administrative team is taking proactive measures and discussing plans in the event that schools were to be closed, or if there were a high level of student absences. We are considering various scenarios and will work with the NYS Education Department to prepare in the event the need arises. 

    Prevention

    There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this virus. Like with all viruses and illnesses, there’s a tremendous reliance on individual precautions. The NYS Department of Health recommends the following ways to minimize the spread of all respiratory viruses, including COVID-2019:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Stay home when you are sick, especially if you have a fever or cough.
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands afterwards.
    • Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    More Information

    If you or a family member begin showing symptoms of a respiratory disease and suspect it may be COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider. Before going to your healthcare provider’s office, inform them that a case of COVID-19 is suspected, and follow their advice.

    Local health departments will contact schools if a suspected or known COVID-19 case emerges. The district is prepared to work with any affected families.

    For more information, consider consulting these additional resources:

    1. Novel Coronavirus (NYS Department of Health)
    2. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
    3. Information for Travel (CDC)
    4. FAQ for Travelers (CDC)
    5. Prevention & Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    6. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Frequently Asked Questions – Prevention

    In addition, New York has established a Novel Coronavirus Hotline, which can provide additional information. Call 1-888-364-3065 with questions or concerns about travel and symptoms. The district will continue to share information as it becomes available.

    Please know that, as always, the health and safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.

    Sincerely,
    Neil Howard, Jr.
    Superintendent of Schools