Hartford schools await vaccine

Hartford schools await vaccine
Hartford Central School District building.

Key policies and topics were discussed and ultimately approved at the Hartford Board of Education meeting on Monday.

When the COVID-19 vaccine is more readily available, superintendent Andrew Cook’s agreement with Adirondack Health and Wellness will provide a vaccine clinic for faculty and staff.

“At this time, any potential COVID vaccine clinic and the flu clinic next fall are designed for faculty staff,” Cook said. “However, we are exploring the possibility of expanding the opportunity.”

There is no current timetable for when the vaccine is expected to arrive in larger numbers or a specific date for the clinic.

The board approved Hartford’s Public Health Emergency plan to be submitted to the state.

“In September, Gov. Cuomo signed into law a requirement that all New York State public employers adopt a plan for operations in the event of a declared public health emergency involving a communicable disease. While this new legislation does specifically include school districts, the law does amend Education Law 2801-a to state that school safety plans must contain, ‘protocols for responding to a declared public health emergency involving a communicable disease that are substantially consistent with the provisions of section twenty-seven-c of the labor law,’” Cook said via follow-up email on Tuesday.  “Per the law, the plan was reviewed by all the labor associations in the district.”

A building and condition survey revealed members of the school district felt an area that required dire attention was the gymnasium roof. The board awaits bids for the capital project to be sent back by March 3.

“As a district, we use our building and condition survey as a tool to determine potential capital outlay projects and future large-scale capital projects. The gym roof was identified in the last building and condition survey as an area that should be addressed,” Cook said. “The bidding documents should be published by our architects later this week and we are hopeful to approve contracts at the March meeting, with the work to begin in the spring, and substantial completion in June.”

Cook told the board a major change is coming to single-occupancy restrooms in New York schools.

“New York State Education Law Section 409-m requires that the board of every school district, BOCES, and charter school ‘develop policies and procedures requiring that all single-occupancy bathroom facilities are designated as gender neutral for use by no more than one occupant at a time or for family or assisted use,’” Cook said. “This law goes into effect on March 23.”

As the school budget vote approaches in the spring, the board approved switching from the Washington County Board of Elections’ voting machines to paper ballots to conserve spending. “There is a financial cost for utilizing the county’s scanning machines,” Cook said. “We have used the machines in the past, and they work great, but given our experience in using paper ballots last year and the difficult financial situation the district is experiencing, it would not be prudent of the district to use the machines.”