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Hoosac Valley District Reports First COVID-19 Case

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CHESHIRE, Mass. — The Hoosac Valley Regional School District reported their first case of COVID-19 that fortunately never made it into the schools.
Superintendent Aaron Dean told the School Committee on Monday that earlier in the day he received an alert of the district's first case of COVID-19 that he said was an isolated case.
"Our first case did hit the schools today and fortunately the person took precaution and did not come in," Dean said. 
Dean did not indicate whether the individual was a student or staff or what school has been potentially impacted.
The superintendent said he wanted to reinforce the importance of following school and state protocols. He also asked that families avoid large gatherings especially as the holidays approach. He said this is critical in terms of keeping county infection numbers low and the schools open.
"We did have a case but because people took precaution it did not become something bigger," Dean said. "... Keep those social circles tight, wear masks, wash your hands, and stay home if you don't feel good ... we are not past this yet."
Continuing with COVID-19 updates, Dean said the future of winter sports is still unknown, but administrators hope to have a better sense of this later in the month.
"We are really kind of waiting for guidance and recommendations," Dean said. "We need to see where we are if we are going to have winter sports and ... what they are going to look like."
In other business, principals gave an update on their individual schools and all said, barring some attendance and occasional technology issues, things are going well.
Principals were especially encouraged by how well students were adhering to new hygiene and mask wearing protocols.
Dean commented during the update and reiterated that although the district is navigating a new hybrid learning model, there is still a data driven focus on student improvement. 
He also indicated that he would like to reconvene subcommittee work in the near future. 
Dean added that the district is lucky to have received COVID-19 grant funds that have allowed them to purchase personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and technology needed to make sure all students have access to remote learning.
"It hasn't really impacted our operating budget as it could have," Dean said. "We are lucky to have these grant funds."
The district received a $2,000 donation from the Lions Club to purchase headsets for students to help in remote learning.

Tags: COVID-19,   Hoosac Valley,   

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Letter: Vitamin D May Provide Covid-19 Protection

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Here is what the Mayo Clinic has observed about high rates of vitamin D deficiency in people with COVID-19 who experienced acute respiratory failure. These people had a significantly higher risk of dying. And a small, randomized study found that of 50 people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were given a high dose of a type of vitamin D (calcifediol), only one needed treatment in the intensive care unit.

In contrast, among the 26 people with COVID-19 who weren't given calcifediol, 13 needed to be treated in the intensive care unit. In addition, vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States, particularly among Hispanic and Black people. These groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in people who are older, people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher (obesity), and people who have high blood pressure (hypertension).

These factors also increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Taking Vitamin D-3 supplements may help protect us, especially those of us who are dark skinned. They are available at your local drug store and not expensive. Get the word out! We need to do all we can!

Jan Kuniholm
Cheshire, Mass.




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