AKRON, NY (WKBW) – Akron Central School District has announced that some high school students will resume in-person learning sooner than originally planned.
The district previously announced that the high school would switch to distance learning on Monday after a peak in COVID-19 with around 175 students in quarantine due to COVID-19 with a return to in-person learning on October 4.
On Thursday, the Erie County Department of Health announced that it will adopt the New York State Department of Health education guidelines starting Monday. In a statement posted to the district’s website on Sunday, officials said that due to the shift in focus, some students would return to in-person learning earlier than originally planned.
In light of the large number of early quarantine orders and under the recommendation of the Erie County Department of Health, we had no choice but to make the decision to switch to distance learning for five days of teaching in high school last Wednesday evening. The next day, and without warning, ECDOH abandoned its orientation plan (and quarantine requirements) for schools in favor of New York State Department of Health guidelines for classroom instruction.
According to NYSDOH guidelines, and contrary to ECDOH guidelines, there are no plans to quarantine an entire classroom or bus if there are 2 or more positive cases of COVID-19 detected on one 10 day period. This change in quarantine requirements allows us to resume in-person learning in high school sooner than we originally planned. However, I must be clear. While we are very happy to be able to get the kids back to school earlier, there is work we all need to do to make sure we are able to mitigate the spread of the virus in school, to ensure the safety of students and staff and maintain in-person learning.
– Akron Central School District
The district announced that in-person learning would resume in high school on Wednesday and “any student who has been advised by ECDOH or the school nurse to isolate or quarantine must continue to do so until they are he has reached his designated individual return date “.
Virtual learning will take place on Monday and Tuesday and are mandatory attendance days.
The district said it was taking the following steps to combat the spread of COVID-19:
- Monday and Tuesday will be used to carry out a deep cleaning and disinfection of the building.
- Cafeteria spaces will be changed and additional spaces will be used to keep students 6 feet or more apart when eating.
- A new dashboard of COVID-19 cases will be posted on the website. Please click on this link to view it. This tool increases transparency and will help us monitor the rate of the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Please note the number of new positive cases that were reported at the end of last week and work with us to reverse this trend.
- As explained in my letter of Friday September 24, we have partnered with ECDOH to offer free proximal screening and testing to any student or staff member who wishes to participate. This strategy will facilitate early detection.
- We will encourage and reinforce the message to students, staff and visitors to follow all mitigation strategies such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, maintaining appropriate social distancing, and stay home if you have COVID-19-type symptoms.
- We are working with a third-party vendor to offer weekly COVID-19 testing to employees who are required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test in accordance with 10 NYCRR 2.62
- We ask 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 feeling unwell.
- Finally, we know that schools are safe and that in-person learning can be sustained as long as we have staff and students who can be here on a daily basis. Please take precautions and do what you can, both inside and outside school, to help stop the spread of this terrible virus.