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Posted on: March 13, 2020

Neuhaus recommends closure of all Public and Private Schools in Orange County for two weeks

Orange County Seal

Goshen, N.Y. - In light of the increase in confirmed cases of Coronavirus/COVID-19 in the Hudson Valley, Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus in conjunction with Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, and Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan have each activated states of emergency in their respective counties.

The three county executives have consulted with school superintendents in their respective counties and made the recommendation to close all public and private schools for the next two weeks. As of Friday, Orange County has three positive COVID-19 cases.

“Closing schools is a preventative measure that has been taken throughout New York State and the country,” Neuhaus said. “After careful and serious discussion with Orange County’s Health Commissioner, Dr. Irina Gelman, and the County’s school superintendents, we feel that this is the most prudent course of action for our County schools. The intention is to protect our students, faculty and administration from contracting COVID-19, and to mitigate the spread of the virus. The safety of our County residents is our highest priority. We will continue to work vigorously, together with all of our partners, to keep residents safe and protected.”

County Executive Neuhaus is taking the following steps:

- Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois suspended all visitation at Orange County Jail;

- Postponing all Civil Service Exams through the end of March;

- Recommending the suspension of all classroom and extracurricular functions for 14 days, including extra-curricular activities, effective March 16th. Schools may remain open to administration, staff, and staff functions. This order does not include private daycare facilities, Head Start or other daycare programs, unless there is a direct need based on school facility logistics.

Orange County Health Commissioner Dr. Irina Gelman noted that the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the flu, and other droplet-spread viruses, continues to be to practice basic, common-sense personal hygiene. This includes washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, refraining from touching your face and avoiding unnecessary contact with others. Should you feel ill, contact your healthcare provider first.

Do not go directly to the doctor’s office, an emergency room or other healthcare facilities. These simple steps will help prevent the spread of the virus and protect you and your loved ones.

If you are an Orange County resident and have recently traveled outside the U.S. and have questions regarding COVID-19, please contact the Orange County Department of Health at 845-291-2330. If you feel you are experiencing symptoms, please call your medical provider immediately prior to presenting to a facility. Due to the high volume of calls, we encourage residents who have basic questions to visit the Orange County Health Department’s webpage at www.orangecountygov.com/health.

For general questions, residents may also contact the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) 2019 Novel Coronavirus hotline at 1-888-364-3065 to speak with a NYSDOH expert who will answer questions. This is open 24 hours a day.

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or jrodriguez@orangecountygov.com.

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