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Spring break is in session for many districts in WNY, are schools concerned about travel

COVID-19 cases in Erie Co. schools are rising
Posted at 7:31 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 19:32:38-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Many Western New York School districts began spring break Friday, others have already been on break for a week. The break comes as Erie County schools are reporting their highest level of COVID-19 cases so far this year, 306 last week.

“We are seeing so many cases in the school, and again it's different, these are mostly students not so much staff,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Bustein on Tuesday.

The Erie County Department of Health is warning neighbors of travel risks, saying people returning from domestic destinations should consider staying home and avoid close contact with unvaccinated adults and children for ten days if possible.

University at Buffalo Chief of Infectious Diseases said there should be a "moderate level of concern" when it comes to spring break travel.

“We know that recreational and travel related actives associated with spring break, inevitably brings an increase in number of cases,” Russo said.

The state no longer requires domestic travelers to quarantine.

Before the new guidance Niagara Falls City Schools Superintendent Mark Laurrie said the district planned on sending out travel forms ahead of break.

“We were going to be able to, you know, track the staff travel, the student travel, and open up a testing site here at the district upon their return, I believe it was four days later," Laurrie said. "That has now gone by the wayside.”

Laurrie said the district will watch case numbers closely. He estimates 75% of district staff will be vaccinated by the end of break.

New CDC guidance said fully vaccinated Americans can travel with low risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19.

Russo said schools should be most mindful of times when masks are off, such as lunch and some indoor sports, and move those activities outside if possible.

Several districts tell us they're continuing standard COVID precautions, but won't be making major changes when students and staff return.

“A little more vigilance when we come back, watching for any children with symptoms, but we understand people have been stuck in their homes for over a year and they’re gonna travel,” said Superintendent of Starpoint Schools Dr. Sean Croft.

The District continues to follow the health and safety guidelines from the New York State Department of Health. We will continue with the mitigation techniques, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing hands, to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure our school environments remain as healthy and safe as possible.
Nick Filipowski, Williamsville Central School District Director of Communications
The Hamburg Central School District is following all of the states directives regarding travel. We remain confident that our employees and our families will enjoy their time away safely, and take any precautions they feel are necessary according to the state guidelines and their own particular circumstances.
Michael Cornell, Superintendent Hamburg Central School District

Ahead of break, Buffalo Public Schools sent staff members NYS travel requirements and information on reporting positive tests and quarantines.

New York still has a quarantine requirement for international travelers.