Op Eds & Letters To The Editor

Mt. Vernon Falls From High Transmission to Substantial Transmission For Covid-19. School-Aged is 21% of All Cases.

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As of September 30, 2021, active Covid-19 cases in Mt. Vernon were 132, down from 188 a week ago.  More importantly, Mt. Vernon had 49 new cases over the past 7 days which translates to 72 new cases per 100,000 people.  This is 28% below the Center for Disease Control (CDC) threshold for High Transmission category.
On September 27, 2021, the NYS Dept. of Health (NYSDOH) resumed publishing the NYS School COVID Report Card after a 16-day hiatus.  The NYS School COVID Report Card consists of 2 parts:

  • the Lab Reported Data, which automatically generates daily the number of Covid-19 tests ran and number of them being positive based on the address and age (5-17 yrs. old) of school-aged children being tested in Mt. Vernon, and
  • the School Reported Data, where the Superintendent or his designee school reports to NYSDOH known cases (students and staff) aligned with the district’s schools.

During the 16-day blackout period, the active school-aged Covid-19 cases in Mt. Vernon likely peaked to 45 cases and last 7-day positivity likely exceeded 10%.  The missing Lab Reported Data was very alarming to staff and parents as school-aged positivity was 7% and rising three weeks ago when Mt. Vernon City School District reopened schools.  The expectation was further increase in Covid-19 positivity due to:

  • overall in-school activity,
  • relatively lower Covid-19 safety standards compared to those of NYC public schools, and 
  • known breaches in Covid-19 safety protocols at some MVCSD schools.

Lab Reported active school-aged cases are now at 28, or 21% of all cases in Mt. Vernon, up from 12% of all cases a month ago.

The School Reported Data for the school district is inaccurate.   That report significantly undercounts student and staff cases.  For example, on the first reporting day (data as of 9/26/21) the report shown below states only 2 student cases districtwide for the past 14 days.  I know at my school, the Superintendent had stated in writing that our school had 3 student cases.  Furthermore, the Lab Reported Data as of 9/26/21 identified 33 school-aged cases within Mt. Vernon for the past 14 days.  So how could the district credibly report to NYSDOH only 2 student cases over the same period?  Three days ago I provided the detailed inaccuracies to the Superintendent.  Since that time, his report designee has been attempting to correct a slew of inaccuracies reported to NYSDOH.

Date of Submission: 09/24/2021  Number of Schools: 16  COVID-19 Report Card

To keep parents, students, teachers & staff, and the public fully informed, New York State’s COVID Report Card dashboard reports two distinct data sets:
1) Lab Reported COVID Data for the School District: All COVID-19 positive or negative test results for New York State residents 5-17 years old are reported by laboratories to the Department of Health. This data is matched to the school district within which an individual lives. This data reflects the number of COVID-19 tests and test results for students living in a school district. Note: Individuals 5-17 years old may attend a private or charter school in a neighboring district. Verification measures are in place to prevent duplicate reporting of lab results.
2) School District Reported COVID Data: Every school district is required to report COVID-19 test results for students enrolled in a school district, teachers, and staff to the NYSDOH daily. Schools acquire this information from the parent/guardian of a student, teachers, and staff, or the local health department as a part of the state’s contact tracing effort. Verification measures are in place to prevent duplicate reporting of school survey results.
NOTE: There may be discrepancies in the two data sets due to reporting lag times and other variables. These are two distinct and separate data sets, both designed to offer up to date information on testing, viral spread, and other relevant details regarding your school and school district. As more data is available, this will be reported on the dashboard.  Lab Reported COVID Data for the School District  (Data as of 09/26/21)  

COVID-19 positive data reported below includes students, teachers, and staff enrolled in the school district. This information is either shared by the parent/guardian of the student, notified by teachers and staff, or communicated by the local health department as part of the contact tracing effort.  

Enrollment and Employment data are estimated number of students, teachers and staff provided by the school districts and may not reflect the actual attendance.

School Administered Testing Data includes any large-scale testing event conducted at the school or facilitated by the school in coordination with the local health department.  

On September 15, 2021, MVCSD administration announced the implementation of NYSDOH Covid-19 Guidance for P-12 Schools dated September 2, 2021.  The new guidance has a vaccine mandate for staff and screening testing for staff and students.  Nine days ago, staff began uploading their proof of vaccination.  Screening testing for unvaccinated staff or students has yet to begin.   Why the delay in screening testing for unvaccinated staff or students?

Robert Jones
MVCSD Parent and Employee

Black Westchester

Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.

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