Actions that can help fight germs like the flu

Provided by Sullivan County Public Health:

CDC recommends a three-step approach to fighting influenza (flu). The first and most important step is to get a flu vaccination each year. But if you get the flu, there are prescription antiviral drugs that can treat your illness. Early treatment is especially important for the elderly, the very young, people with certain chronic health conditions, and pregnant women. Finally, everyday preventive actions may slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu. This flyer contains information about everyday preventive actions.

How does the flu spread?
Flu viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Flu viruses also may spread when people touch something with flu virus on it and then touch their mouth, eyes, or nose. Many other viruses spread these ways too.People infected with flu may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. That means you may be able to spread the flu to someone else before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick. Young children, those who are severely ill, and those who have severely weakened immune systems may be able to infect others for longer than 5-7 days.

What are everyday preventive actions?
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you or your child gets sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you (or your child) stay home for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. The fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
• If an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs, follow public health advice. This may include information about how to increase distance between people and other measures.

What additional steps can I take at work to help stop the spread of germs that can cause respiratory illness, like flu?
• Find out about your employer’s plans if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
• Routinely clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.
• Make sure your workplace has an adequate supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes.
• Train others on how to do your job so they can cover for you in case you or a family member gets sick and you have to stay home.
• If you begin to feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible.

What additional preventive actions can I take to protect my child from germs that can cause respiratory illness, like flu?
• Find out about plans your child’s school, child care program, or college has if an outbreak of flu or another illness occurs and whether flu vaccinations are offered on-site.
• Make sure your child’s school, child care program, or college routinely cleans frequently touched objects and surfaces, and that
they have a good supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand rubs, and disposable wipes on-site.
• Ask how sick students and staff are separated from others and who will care for them until they can go home.

Governor unveils Executive Budget, Aid Proposals

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo presented an executive state budget proposal that includes a $769 million increase in overall funding for school operations in the 2018-19 school year.

Under the governor’s proposal, total school aid for 2018-19 would be $26.4 billion, which represents a statewide increase of 3 percent.

The bulk of the funding increase would go toward three areas: $338 million in additional Foundation Aid, which is the primary source of funding for everyday school operations; $317 million to reimburse districts for designated expenses such as transportation, construction and BOCES services; and a $64 million Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

The proposal also targets additional funding for community schools, pre-kindergarten and after-school programs, teacher development and school breakfast initiatives. Other elements that may affect public schools include restrictions on spending and new plans for revenue sources.

The executive budget proposal is the formal beginning of budget negotiations between the governor and the New York State Legislature, with a final state budget due by April 1. The plan put forth by Cuomo seeks to close an estimated $4.4 billion deficit for the state and to address uncertainties in federal funding and the impact of new federal tax rules.

Click here for a breakdown of projected state aid for each school district based on the governor’s proposal.

General funding less than half of Regents’ recommendation

The governor’s proposed increase in education funding is less than half of the amount recommended by the Board of Regents and the Educational Conference Board (ECB), a coalition of the state’s major education groups. Last fall, the Board of Regents called for an overall $1.6 billion increase in school funding for 2018-19, and ECB estimated $1.5 billion was necessary to maintain current school services next year.

Both groups also asked the state to fully fund and ensure equity in the Foundation Aid Formula. The formula was enacted in 2007 to ensure all school districts have the funding needed to provide students with a sound, basic education, but its phase-in was stalled during the recession. The state currently owes schools $4.2 billion in Foundation Aid based on the formula.

Last year, Cuomo called for adjustments to the Foundation Aid Formula, but those changes were not enacted in the final state budget.

This year, he has proposed a new mandate that would require large school districts to develop plans for how they will distribute their state aid among individual schools each year. In 2018-19, the proposed mandate would apply to districts in cities with populations of more than 125,000, and would be expanded in 2019-20 to include school districts containing at least nine schools and receiving at least 50 percent of their total revenue from the state. These districts would need to submit their aid distribution plans for state approval before the start of each new school year.

Funding for targeted education initiatives in budget proposal

The governor’s budget proposal calls for targeted funding in a series of education initiatives and programs, including the following:

  • Community Schools: The proposed Foundation Aid increase includes a $50 million set-aside for community schools. Districts must use these funds for community school initiatives such as before- and after-school mentoring, summer learning activities, health services and dental care.
  • Prekindergarten: The proposal includes $15 million in new funding to expand half-day and full-day kindergarten programs for three- and four-year olds, with a focus on high-need districts that do not currently have a prekindergarten program.
  • After-school Programming: The proposal includes $10 million in new funding to expand the Empire State After School Grants program in districts with high rates of homelessness or that serve students in high-risk communities.
  • Early College High School: The proposal includes $9 million in new funding to create 15 new Early College High School programs in communities with low graduation or college access rates.
  • Smart Start Grants: The proposal includes $6 million in new funding to create the Smart Start program, which would provide grants for teacher development and resources in computer science and engineering. All schools could apply, but grants would go to the highest-need schools first.
  • School Meals:

o  Breakfast After the Bell: The proposal includes $5 million in new funding to support schools with additional meal costs related to the implementation of a mandate proposed for 2018-19. That mandate would require schools with more than 70 percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to provide all students with breakfast after the school day begins.

o  Ban Lunch Shaming: New legislation in the budget also would require most schools to develop and get state approval for a plan to ensure students are not shamed or treated differently for having unpaid meal balances. It would apply to all public schools that participate in the national school meals program and do not currently provide free school meals to all students.

o  Encourage Use of Farm-fresh New York Foods: The proposed budget expands the Farm to School Program and provides incentives for school districts that purchase 30 percent of their food from New York farmers and growers.

  • Test Assistance for Families: The proposal includes $2 million in new funding to help low-income students with the cost of taking Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. It also includes $500,000 in grants for districts that don’t have, but would like to offer, advanced courses.
  • Teacher Recognition and Professional Development: The proposal includes $1.4 million in new funding for an additional cohort of master teachers in high-need districts and a third round of Empire State Excellence in Teaching Awards.

New revenue proposals and restrictions in budget proposal

In his budget address, the governor proposed several new “revenue raisers” and restrictions on education spending that would affect schools if implemented, including the following:

  • STAR: The proposal would hold the value of School Tax Relief (STAR) Basic and Enhanced exemptions for property taxpayers at existing levels rather than allowing them to grow at the current rate of 2 percent annually. It would also make participation in an income verification program mandatory for recipients of Enhanced STAR benefits.
  • Cap on Expense-based Aids: The proposal calls for a 2 percent cap on the growth in major expense-based aid categories such as construction and transportation beginning in the 2019-20 school year.
  • Tax Code Changes: The governor shared that the state is exploring ways to restructure its tax code in response to recent tax reforms at the federal level. Some changes could affect school funding such as allowing tax deductible, charitable donations to a public education fund. More details on what the governor is calling the New York State Taxpayer Protection Act are expected in a report from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

Click here for more details on the governor’s budget proposal.


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Dr. Kathleen Bressler selected for NYSED advisory committee

Liberty Central School District’s Director of Student Services Dr. Kathleen Bressler has been selected to participate as a stakeholder on the New York State Education Department (NYSED) latest advisory committee on educational policy affecting equity in special education. Its Office of Special Education (OSE) is considering revisions to its current methodology for identifying when districts are significantly disproportionate by race or ethnicity and selected Dr. Bressler as an influential and guiding resource.

At Liberty, Dr. Bressler leads the charge in ensuring that students with disabilities reach the State’s learning standards. Among other things, she helps us:

  • develop and implement an individualized education program (IEP) which includes annual goals based on information about a student’s strengths, needs and present levels of performance;
  • ensure that recommended supports and services are provided to meet a student’s needs and to assist the student to be successful in the general education curriculum to meet grade level standards; and
  • ensure that teachers, including special education teachers and support personnel, are knowledgeable about the curriculum the school is using to implement the new standards and are prepared and qualified to deliver high-quality, evidence-based specially designed instruction and support services.

The district would like to commend Dr. Bressler on this esteemed invitation and for being a champion for our students at Liberty Central School District.

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New Assistant Superintendent shares his goals for Liberty

New Liberty Central School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Augustine E. Tornatore says he has big plans to make the district the very best it can be. To accomplish this, Dr. Tornatore intends to personalize the education of all the children who attend our schools. He feels that every opportunity should be available for our students at Liberty.

“I want all 1,678 students to be able to develop goals in their lives and pursue them,” he said. “I want our students to have a voice. Learning is personal, and it is up to [the district’s administration] to remove barriers so that students can find what they are passionate about. I want the students to get up in the morning and want to come to a school that they feel supports their goals.” He believes that infusing technology in an effective manner provides the opportunity for our teachers to differentiate instruction in the classroom and for the students to view learning as an enjoyable experience.

Prior to joining Liberty, Dr. Tornatore worked in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District as the Director of Social Studies K-12. There, he worked closely with his team to update the K-12 curriculum to reflect New York State’s Social Studies Framework. Previously, he was the Administrator for Alternative, Adult and Community Programs within the Baldwin Union Free School District. He served as the Principal of Hastings Academy, the district’s alternative high school, where he raised the graduation rate for the students attending the program. He also revamped the K-12 medical homebound and suspension programs, Continuing Education, Driver Education, SAT Prep. and Saturday Night Alive programs.

Being an assistant superintendent has always been a goal, and Dr. Tornatore was willing to wait until the right job came along, he shared. Although he kept up with job postings, he said nothing quite felt right until he saw the opening for an assistant superintendent in Liberty.

“When that position became available, I knew it was right,” he said. “It was a good fit for my skill set, and it was the right community. It’s been wonderful getting to know the administrators and staff and students and their families.”

Dr. Tornatore was one of 11 applicants for the position, and a screening committee started the process last fall by narrowing the candidates down to two. In October, the district’s board of education had interviewed both candidates before deciding to hire Dr. Tornatore.

“The board of education and interview committee appreciated Dr. Tornatore’s knowledge of curriculum as well as his humanistic approach to encourage everyone to build upon their strengths,” Interim Superintendent of Schools Carol Napolitano said. “He truly believes that the students’ education is extremely important. With only a few weeks on the job, he has already been visible at student meet and greets, concerts and community meetings.”

Dr. Tornatore says that his goal is to get a feel for what the school community is seeking from the district and to have lots of conversations with administrators, teachers, students and parents about what the next five to 10 years look like at Liberty Central School District.

“I think that’s where we start engaging the community,” he said. “By talking to parents, students, teachers, administrators, business leaders and stakeholders – and hearing what they want for the future of Liberty.”

One of the first things that Dr. Tornatore did in his new role was hold a meet and greet with students at all the schools. He met with and spoke to students about their educational goals and encouraged them to think about the things they’d like to see implemented in order to help them succeed in school.

“I have an open door policy,” he told students. “I want you to know that you have a voice in your educational process. It takes time and effective planning to build trust and growth, but that is what I’m here to do.”

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Racette wins NIAAA award as scholar-athlete

Senior Olivia Racette has been selected as the female scholar athlete representative for Section IX for the 2017-2018 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Scholar Athlete Scholarship. She will now be in the running for the state award.  Her application will be compared to all other female chapter representatives in New York state. If selected, she will receive $250 and a chance to be awarded the NIAAA Section Award.

The criteria for the award were class rank, GPA, ACT/SAT scores, school participation and leadership, community involvement and two writing samples.  All applicant names, schools and other information which would indicate where the student was from were not disclosed.  This was an anonymous selection based solely on credentials.

District mourns passing of former board member


The Liberty Central School District community was deeply saddened to learn of the unexpected death of Marion Irene Norris Klein, former Liberty Board of Education member, on Dec. 23.

Mrs. Klein was a board of education member for the Liberty Central School District for 17 years.  She was also president and a lifetime member of the school’s PTA. We are grateful for her voice in public education and honor her contributions to the community.




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