AKRON, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Akron Central School District announced some high school students will return to in-person learning sooner than initially planned.
The district previously announced the high school would shift to remote learning Monday after a COVID-19 spike with around 175 students in quarantine due to COVID-19 with a return to in-person learning October 4.
Thursday, the Erie County Department of Health announced it would adopt New York State Department of Health school guidance beginning Monday. In a statement on the district's website Sunday, officials announced due to the switch in guidance some students would return to in-person learning sooner than initially planned.
In light of the significant number of anticipated quarantine orders and under the recommendation of the Erie County Department of Health, we had little choice but to make the decision to transition to remote learning for five days of instruction at the High School last Wednesday evening. The following day, and without warning, the ECDOH abandoned its guidance plan (and quarantine requirements) for schools in favor of the New York State Department of Health Guidance for classroom Instruction.
Under the NYSDOH guidance, and unlike the ECDOH guidance, there is no provision to quarantine an entire classroom or bus if there are 2 or more positive cases of COVID-19 detected over a 10 day period. This change in quarantine requirements allows us to return to in person learning at the High School sooner that we had initially planned. However, I must be clear. While we are very happy that we can bring the children back to school sooner, there is work that we all must do to ensure that we are able to mitigate the spread of the virus in school, keep students and staff safe, and maintain in person learning.
The district announced in-person learning will resume at the high school on Wednesday and "any student that was notified by the ECDOH or school nurse to isolate or quarantine must continue to do so until they have reached their individual designated return date."
Virtual learning will take place Monday and Tuesday and are required days of attendance.
The district said it is taking the following steps to combat the spread of COVID-19:
- Monday and Tuesday will be used to perform a deep cleaning and disinfection of the building.
- Cafeteria spaces will be modified and additional spaces will be used in order to keep students the recommended 6 feet or more apart while eating.
- A new COVID-19 case dashboard will be posted on the website. Please click this link to view it. This tool increases transparency and will help us monitor the rate of COVID-19 spread in schools. Please note the number of new positive cases that were reported late last week and work with us to reverse this trend.
- As was explained in my letter from Friday, September 24th, we have partnered with the ECDOH to offer free screening and proximal testing to any student or staff member that would like to participate. This strategy will aid in early detection.
- We will encourage and reinforce the message to students, staff and visitors to follow all mitigation strategies such as wearing a mask, practicing frequent hand washing, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and staying home if experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms.
- We are working with a third party vendor to offer weekly COVID-19 tests to those employees that are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test pursuant to 10 NYCRR 2.62
- We are asking everyone (parents, students and staff) to understand that many of the symptoms may initially be mild. However, take precautions and don’t come to school or work if you are not feeling well.
- Finally, we know that schools are safe and that in person learning can be maintained as long as we have staff and students that are able to be here daily. Please take precautions and do what you can, both in and out of school, to help stop the spread of this terrible virus.