PINE BUSH – Four employees in the district office at Pine Bush Central School District have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday, June 23, according to Superintendent of Schools Tim Mains.
The district office is now closed and all 19 of its employees have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days. All have been tested for the virus and most are working from home, including Mains.
Employees will enter the building on an as-needed basis to perform essential tasks. However, the public and Pine Bush employees should not come to the district office until at least July 6.
The Orange County Department of Health notified Mains on Tuesday, June 16, that an employee in the district had tested positive for the virus. The district has hundreds of employees in nine buildings; Mains asked for more detailed information in order to notify those who might be affected. He announced that he would be tested for the virus, since he has reported to the district office each day throughout the school closure and has interacted with numerous district employees.
On Wednesday, June 17, approximately 40 people, several of them district office employees, gathered in the high school gym to count ballots from the election which had ended the day before. All wore masks and sat at least six feet apart at the numerous tables set up in the gym for the task.
Mains learned late Wednesday that the positive case was with a district office employee.
“We would have never put anyone at risk, had we known the positive case was in our district office,” said Mains. “We would have suspended the vote count for at least another day.”
Since then, all district office employees have been tested. Three additional staff members have tested positive, including one who worked in the gym counting ballots. The health department has recommended that all election inspectors who worked counting ballots in Pine Bush last Wednesday should self-quarantine for 14 days.
“Many of us are eager to return to normal, to get out and socialize,” said Mains. “We’ve gotten lax in the precautions we’ve been taking for the past three months. I’ve noticed that frequently folks are having lunch in close quarters, without masks and not socially distanced. Let this be a reminder to all of us to remain cautious, wear a mask and keep at least six feet from others. In the long run, we will all benefit from our diligence.”