Messages from the District Superintendent

  • Statewide ThoughtExchange

    Posted by Patricia N. Kilburn Ed.D. on 5/18/2020

    Dear colleagues,

    Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York school facilities will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The Governor will make a decision about summer school by the end of May. As we look to the future, we must think about what a return to school buildings might look like and how best to support students, families and staff.

    We know that we are stronger together. We need all voices to be heard on this important matter.  Please help us encourage all stakeholders, including students, parents, staff and community members, to participate in a statewide virtual conversation about reopening schools. Participants will be able to read and rate responses. Based on those ratings, the most important thoughts will rise to the top. All contributions are anonymous.

    This is a statewide exchange facilitated by the 37 New York BOCES (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services). The exchange results will be shared with our elected officials so that they will have a more global understanding of the thoughts and ideas our community members have about returning to in-person schooling.

    I encourage everyone to use the link below to share your thoughts and help evaluate the critical issues. This link will also be posted on our OHM BOCES website and social media channels, where you will have the ability to share it with friends and family members in our community.

    Thought Exchange Link:

    Your BOCES is the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES.

    Thank you in advance for your participation,

    Patricia N. Kilburn, Ed.D.
    District Superintendent

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  • Important Message from the District Superintendent Regarding Spring Recess

    Posted by Patricia N. Kilburn, Ed.D. on 3/31/2020

    Dear parents and guardians,

    During the current school building closures, students have been receiving supplemental learning materials from their teachers to facilitate a continuation of their usual school curriculum and instruction.

    Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo has directed the state’s school buildings to remain closed for an additional two weeks until April 15. Given this new guidance from Governor Cuomo and the New York State Education Department, schools will continue to provide and support students with remote instruction during the previously scheduled Spring Recess.

    “Grab and Go” meals will also continue to be available to all children 18 years of age and under in each district through their school’s food service program.

    We encourage all students to continue their learning while school buildings are closed, and for all families to stay home whenever possible. Providing continuity of learning and distribution of meals for our students remains a priority and should continue uninterrupted.

    We will continue to provide important information to you as it becomes available. Since this situation is rapidly changing, we encourage you to regularly check our website for the latest updates.

    We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy during this uncertain time.

    Click here to view a PDF of this message.


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  • A Statement from the OHM BOCES Regarding Assemblyman Brian Miller

    Posted by Patricia N. Kilburn, Ed.D. on 3/30/2020

    Dear families and colleagues,

    I have recently been made aware that Assemblyman Brian Miller, whose New Hartford District Office is located on our Middle Settlement Road campus, has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. 

    While the Assemblyman’s activities within the main building are limited in scope, we understand that this news may cause fear in some within our organization and the larger community. The Department of Health will contact anyone that they believe has been exposed within a certain timeline, and they will provide further guidance in those circumstances. Additionally, the Department of Health’s COVID-19 hotline is 315-798-6400, should you prefer to speak with them directly.

    If you or a family member are exhibiting symptoms of the COVID-19 virus (fever, cough and shortness of breath), please contact your healthcare provider.

    The best way to protect yourself and your family is to continue following the guidelines that have been shared for preventing the spread of the virus, including social distancing, practicing good hygiene and staying home whenever possible.

    If you have questions regarding the COVID-19 virus, please visit or call: 

    The safety and well-being of our students and staff are our priority, and we are continuing to work to support them during this difficult time.  Additional disinfection routines, in response to this event, will be implemented while students are not attending school at the OHM campus.

    The stress, anxiety and emotions caused by this crisis are truly significant. FREE emotional support, consultation, and referral to a provider is available by calling the state’s Mental Health hotline at 1-844-863-9314. A number of mental health resources can also be found on the Oneida County Health Department website at

    As always, OHM BOCES employees and their families have access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can help in managing a variety of life's challenges. For more information about our EAP, please visit or contact our EAP Coordinator Debra Hagenbuch at 315-223-4734.

    We are continuing to closely monitor this evolving situation and will provide updates to you as they become available. For the most up-to-date information, please visit our website at

    Thank you for your cooperation, understanding and support as we all work together to navigate this time.

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  • Status Update from the OHM BOCES Regarding the Coronavirus and School Closings

    Posted by Patricia N. Kilburn, Ed.D. on 3/13/2020

    In communication with the New York State Department of Health, and coordination with the Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patricia N. Kilburn and the superintendents of the OHM BOCES component districts made a collective decision to cancel school and extracurricular activities beginning Monday, March 16, 2020, with schools re-opening on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus for students, staff and the communities at large.

    The total closures affect OHM BOCES and 11 of its component school districts: Clinton, Holland Patent, New Hartford, New York Mills, Oriskany, Remsen, Sauquoit Valley, Utica, Waterville, Westmoreland and Whitesboro. The Brookfield Central School District, within Madison County, is awaiting a determination to close at this time.

    This closure will result in the loss of 15 days in addition to the scheduled spring break. During this closure, school personnel will continue to coordinate efforts in the best interest of our students. Further communications regarding services will be shared with families as appropriate.

    The New York State Education Department continues to work with the Governor’s Office, the NYS Department of Health and the U.S. Department of Education to provide guidance to our schools around issues such as instruction and testing.

    As this situation evolves, we will continue to work with the New York State Department of Health and the County Executive’s Office and will provide updates as they become available.

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  • Important Message Regarding Coronavirus

    Posted by Patricia N. Kilburn, Ed.D. on 3/6/2020

    Dear OHM BOCES Families, Staff and Community,

    With ongoing concerns over the Coronavirus (COVID‐19), we want to share information about the measures the Oneida‐Herkimer‐Madison BOCES is taking in partnership with our local, state and national health agencies to mitigate and prevent the spread of the virus.

    The OHM BOCES is working closely with our Safety Office, the Oneida County Health Department, New York State Department of Health and New York State Education Department (SED) to closely monitor COVID‐19, as well as any impact it may have locally. Currently, there are no cases of COVID‐19 infection in Oneida, Herkimer or Madison Counties. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk to the U.S. public is considered low at this time. However, this remains a very fluid situation and health agencies continue to learn more about this by the hour.

    It is important not to create fear or panic. We urge parents and students to get informed about the virus, how it spreads, how to identify symptoms and recommended actions so we can all do our part to prevent the virus from spreading. Be assured that we are taking steps consistent with guidance from the CDC and Health Department to mitigate the spread of this and other similarly transmitted viruses.

    Recommendations for prevention of COVID‐19 are the same as for respiratory illnesses like the common cold and the flu:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol‐based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu‐like symptoms.
    • Stay home (or keep your child home) when sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

    Many of the symptoms of this virus, like a cough and fever, are similar to the symptoms of colds and flu, and many people may have a mild case of this virus without even knowing. Symptoms of COVID‐19 in children seem to be more mild than in adults, however anyone can carry and spread the virus. Many of the fatalities that have occurred were in people with compromised immune systems or people who were smokers.

    For the latest information, please visit the CDC website at

    We realize it is possible that we may see an increase in student absences given the recommendation to stay home when sick. Please be assured our staff understands this potential and will work with those who are absent due to illness when they return. We do not want anyone negatively impacted by following this guidance.

    Please know that here at OHM BOCES, we will continue to stress proper hygiene to everyone, monitor our attendance, and clean and disinfect classrooms and common areas frequently. We will continue to be briefed regularly by the County and State Health Departments, CDC and SED. We will monitor new findings and trends and react accordingly.

    Right now, we are not planning to do anything drastically different from our regular cold and flu season precautions. However, if it appears the virus is in our area, we will be vigilant about monitoring the situation. If it becomes necessary, we will review all mass gatherings and make decisions appropriately.

    Our team is creating plans to deal with these issues with the hope that we may never need to use them. We are in constant communication with the Departments of Health and SED and as we receive new information or as we solidify plans, we will be certain to share them with you.

    The health and wellbeing of students, staff and school communities continue to be our focus. Additional information, resources and updates are available on our website at www.oneida‐

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