COVID cases force some schools back to remote only learning

“It was a big decision to close down"
Posted at 6:50 PM, Nov 05, 2020

TOWN OF TONAWANDA (WKBW) — Several area schools, faced with COVID cases, were forced to go to all remote learning.

St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in the Town of Tonawanda jumped into remote learning Thursday.

Like many Catholic and private schools in the region more than 500 St. Joe’s High School students returned to full in-school learning this fall.

But school president Christopher Fulco said the school received word Wednesday afternoon of two positive cases.

St. Joe's High School president Christopher Fulco.

“In addition to that we have almost 30 students who are in the process of being tested and we are awaiting those test results,” Fulco explained.

The school immediately switched to all distance learning until November 16th.

“Within a matter of two hours after being notified that we had these positive cases — we had done the internal contract tracing,” said Fulco.

The school nurse is available to students and school families for any questions or concerns.

We caught up with nurse Rosanne Urbanski as she was fielding calls in her office.

Urbanski said the two cases were reported to her just an hour apart.

St. Joe's School nurse Rosanne Urbanski on phone.

“It was a big decision to close down,” remarked Urbanski.

Urbanski says with close to 30-others being tested, this period will serve as quarantine for students who might be asymptomatic.

“They will be out for this period of time, so that when they come back they will no longer be contagious,” Urbanski replied.

But St. Joe's is not alone.

St. Francis High School in Hamburg reported three new cases and transitioned to remote learning Monday.

Frontier High School switch to remote learning after four teachers tested positive.

Kenmore East High School and Nichols student in the upper school also recently moved to full-remote mode.

Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School in south Buffalo.

But at Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School in south Buffalo about 200-students are attending all in-school learning with no COVID cases.

Bishop Timon principal Dr. James Newton.

“No covid cases,” declared Dr. James Newton, principal. We’re five days a week — in-person instruction and it seems to be going well."

Erie County’s COVID positivity rate hit five-percent this week and the county says school spread is a major reason why.

But the governor's office says the seven-day average would have to hit nine-percent before the state would order all schools in the Western New York region to go fully remote.