Please note: This situation is continuously evolving. We will keep this site as updated as possible. If you have immediate concerns, please contact the Chemung County Health Department at (607) 737-2028.
Please click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas.
Click here for information on Chemung County's food assistance program. To reserve a meal box, call 607-873-1813, x1.
Governor Cuomo has extended his school closure order through April 29. Parents/guardians can expect a district update on instruction within the next few days.
Please click here for an update from Superintendent Tom Douglas. The letter includes information on calendar days based on directives from the state, and upcoming communication on instruction. The Governor's order of closure until at least April 15 remains in effect; we expect to get an update on the status of school closer to April 15.
Click here for a Q&A document for parents and students.
Click here for a video of photos submitted to us for our Raider Day At Home Photo Challenge. Thank you for sharing your photos!
Governor Cuomo has extended the school closure order until at least April 15. We will be sharing information with parents and staff on what this means for instruction and other important items just as soon as we can.
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order: All state residents must stay at home to the extent possible in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means no neighborhood gatherings, no basketball or volleyball games, no sleepovers. Residents must maintain at least six feet of social distance. Please, for the health and safety of everyone, comply with this order. Click here to read the Governor's order.
As of noon Friday, March 20, all buildings and offices in the Horseheads Central School District are closed in accordance with state and health department guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Staff members are working remotely. Please click here for contact information. When contacting us, we ask that you leave a detailed message so that we can help you in a timely manner.
Please click here for a message from Superintendent Tom Douglas.
Under advisement of the New York State Department of Health and by order of Chemung County Executive Chris Moss regarding the closing of Chemung County schools for prevention efforts against COVID-19, the Horseheads Central School District will be closed for students beginning Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, April 13. (Please note: On March 26, Governor Cuomo extended school closures until at least April 15.)
Please click here for information on meal distribution during this extended student dismissal. Parents/Guardians: If you need assistance with meals for your children and cannot make it to one of our meal distribution sites listed, please call (607) 739-5601, x4260, x4295, or x4248. If no answer, please leave a message with your name, child(ren)'s name(s), and phone, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
More information on educational programming and other important items will be shared with parents and staff in the coming days.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new (or novel) coronavirus that has not been previously identified. It was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, China. ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.
There are many other types of coronaviruses. The common cold can be caused by a type of coronavirus. Because this particular virus is new and can spread easily, it has created a global health concern. On March 12, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. On March 7, New York State Governor declared a state of emergency, allowing access to emergency funds and other items.
The virus can cause respiratory illness in people and can spread from person to person. While it can spread quickly, most people who contract the virus recover. Vulnerable populations include the elderly and people with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions. As a school district caring for our community’s children and employing several hundred staff, we are taking the situation very seriously.
The number of confirmed cases has risen quickly in our state, country, and the world. The Horseheads Central School District has been monitoring the situation very closely and has been in continuous contact with the Chemung County Health Department. Our county health department has been working with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide up-to-date information and guidance. We area also receiving guidance from the New York State Education Department.
Superintendent Tom Douglas has sent several letters to parents and staff since the situation first grew and will continue to update staff and parents. Please click the links below to read the letters:
As of March 15, there still are no confirmed cases in Chemung County. However, as experts believe there will eventually be cases close to home, we have been planning for any possible outcome, whether that be to continue as usual or to close our schools. Our district has a pandemic plan which we are using in our planning efforts. If we must close, we are planning for the continued delivery of our educational program.
Our schools will be closed to students March 17 to April 13 by order of health officials. When schools are in session, the state has directed that any school with a confirmed case of COVID-19 be closed for a minimum of 24 hours for cleaning/disinfecting and for the Health Department to investigate the case. Any further closure of a school or district would be directed by the county officials and would be based on evidence and science.
While schools are closed to students, we will complete a deep cleaning of all buildings and buses as we continue to follow best practices as prescribed by the Health Department. We have assigned extra duties to members of our Facilities staff, and we have added extra staff and extra hours. While we have always met state protocols for cleaning and disinfecting, we are increasing our vigilance, especially in high-use areas.
Please note that because of this unprecedented situation, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has lifted the state requirement for districts to hold at least 180 days of instruction. This means that we will not be required to make up these days; however, please also note that our school calendar may need to be adjusted.
Health officials agree that one of the best ways to avoid the spread of this and other contagious illnesses is good hygiene:
- Wash hands thoroughly and often
- Avoid touching eyes, hands, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Cough or sneeze into the elbow or a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately
- Avoid close contact with people who are ill
- Stay home when you are ill
- Clean and disinfect surfaces
The CDC provides the following instructions for proper, thorough hand washing:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
For more information
Because this situation is so uncertain and concern has rapidly risen, rumors and misinformation have also risen. For trusted information, please go to the following links:
- Chemung County Health Department: http://www.chemungcountyhealth.org/ or (607) 737-2028
- New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH): https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- World Health Organization (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- NYSDOH COVID-19 Information Line: 1-888-364-3065
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet
- Public Health Advisory Infographic
- Travel FAQs
- Stop the Spread of Germs Flyer
- Letter to Families from NY State of Health
Please also keep in mind that the flu continues to be a serious health concern, causing tens of thousands of deaths in our country each year. The same prevention efforts for COVID-19 exist for the flu, and experts are continuing to encourage people to be immunized against the flu.
If you have questions, please contact the Chemung County Health Department at (607) 737-2028.
Thank you for your care and concern for our children and our community. Together we will fight this battle and protect our children’s and our community’s health.