OCSD Returning 1/19/2021
Posted on 01/13/2021

January 13, 2021

Dear Families and Staff,

On behalf of the Oneida City School District, we hope you and your families are remaining safe and doing your best to follow guidance regarding measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 within our community.  Events have continued to unfold, and we recognize that this raises questions about potential impacts on students, families and our full community.

Return to Hybrid learning

On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, students will resume their typical learning schedule. The building principals will communicate specific information regarding the hybrid schedule. 

We ask that our community members, students and staff remain vigilant with CDC recommendations of masking, socially distancing and washing hands frequently.   We also want to urge all families to keep your children home from school if they are ill or answer yes to any question on the health screener.  

When a school experiences a positive case, there typically are several students and staff members who are placed in quarantine.  When significant numbers of staff members are quarantined, we are unable to find enough substitutes to cover all of the staff absences.   These issues may cause a school to shift to remote instruction. 

As we previously stated in early December, if the District is not able to provide in-person instruction due to staffing shortages, we will prioritize PK-8 in-person instruction by attempting to shift substitute staffing.  Additionally, we will give as much notice as possible if we have to shift to remote/virtual instruction.

COVID Positive student

The District learned that a High School student tested positive. The student has not been in our buildings in the past week.  After conferring with the Madison County DOH, it was determined that the positive case had no exposure at school.  

Yellow Zone planning

The District has been working to finalize all plans needed if the Department of Health notifies us that we are in a ‘Yellow Zone’.  Our school nurses have been instrumental in the planning and have worked with our medical director to determine specifics in our plan.  If the District is informed by MCDOH that they are in a ‘Yellow Zone’, we will make a determination to have in person or remote only instruction.

NYSDOH Yellow Zone requirements for schools

When the DOH designates a school to be in a ‘Yellow Zone’, the schools have two options: 

  1. To have remote instruction only OR
  2. Test 20% of their in-person students and staff. 

To continue in person instruction the district must:

  • Test 20% of in-person students, faculty and staff over the two-week period immediately following the announcement of a yellow zone designation. All COVID tests are voluntary, will require a parental consent, and will be at no cost to students or staff. Additionally, all testing must be done with asymptomatic individuals.    Madison County DOH is providing the rapid tests for schools in the county. 
  • If the results of the testing reveal that the positivity rate among the 20% of those tested is lower than the Yellow Zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, testing at that school will no longer be required to continue. A positivity rate in a school that is lower than in the yellow zone is a sufficient demonstration that in-person instruction is not a significant driver of local viral spread. However, if the results of the testing over the first two weeks reveal that the positivity rate among in-person student, staff and faculty is higher than the Yellow Zone’s current 7-day positivity rate, the school will be required to continue to test 20% of the in-person population on a bi-weekly basis. More information regarding the testing can be found at: 



NYSDOH ‘Orange and Red Zones’ Information.


Please know that the District’s priority is protecting the health, welfare and safety of students and staff while complying with any government orders and guidance related to COVID-19 and school operation. As always, thank you for your patience, understanding and flexibility. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out.


Mary-Margaret Zehr