What the "Yellow Zone" status for parts of Erie County means for impacted school districts

Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 04:07:13-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The governor's "Yellow Zone" status in parts of Erie County has implications for school districts in those specified areas.

According to Governor Andrew Cuomo, school districts like Ken-Ton, Sweet Home, Williamsville, Clarence among others will be required to test 20% of students and staff who participate in in-person instruction.

The New York State Department of Health will be providing rapid testing kits to the Erie Co. Health Dept, and it will be responsible for distributing the kits to impacted school districts.

“We’re making more testing available for the schools and other facilities,” Cuomo said during Monday’s conference call.

It’s unclear when the districts have to begin testing, and how they will do so at random. According to a spokesman for KENTON schools, it plans to review the information with other impacted districts and expects to offer an update at Tuesday’s board meeting.

The Sweet Home Central School District are also still developing a plan. It’s expects to have additional information about who will be tested and when in the the coming days.

"The District is working with partners in the community and with the Erie County Department of Health to ensure we are safely and effectively meeting the requirements set forth by the New York State Department of Health," said a spokesman for the Williamsville Central School District.

Buffalo Public Schools remain fully remote. According to a spokeswoman, the yellow zone status does impact its decision to return to in-person instruction. “The idea is to not reopen and have to close again,” said District Spokeswoman Elena Cala.

School district superintendents in Niagara County are now closely watching what unfolds in Erie County.

“We’ve had some cases, all be it remote, and sporadic, so I don’t want to exacerbate the health problem but I’m very very worried about the learning pandemic,” said Niagara Falls City School Superintendent Mark Laurrie.