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Gouverneur Central School, 133 E. Barney St. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

GOUVERNEUR — An increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases led Gouverneur Central School officials to switch all students to remote learning Friday, and the closure of the building through next week’s holiday break.

BOCES programs and Ag Academy were canceled for the day.

“We have received 12 positive test results since Thursday that include students and employees. At 3:45 we received an additional positive student result for the HS. This will quarantine 5 classes, 5 teachers and one lunch period,” Superintendent Lauren French wrote in a Thursday Facebook message.

More than 70 students were in quarantine Thursday.

“I do understand that people want their children in school and so do I. In knowing that I have 12 positive individuals, some of whom did not show any symptoms, I am making a value judgement on how best to keep people safe. Today, prior to these results, we had 72 students in quarantine. We took 3 positives today, which will add a bus, a cafeteria, 5 HS classrooms, 1-2 elementary classrooms, 7 teachers and two additional employees,” she wrote.

“The decision is similar to making a snow day call. I can read and follow weather reports and make decisions that are designed to keep my scholars and my school family safe. If you, as an individuals, still want to drive to Syracuse in poor weather that is your personal choice,” she wrote.

Mrs. French said 72 scholars were in quarantine, with more on the way.

“I have 12 known positives and as a result of the 3 positive cases today, all within the hour, I will potentially add another 50-60 people to the quarantine list. I am making the call that supports the health and safety of all people. I do understand the frustration. I do not like making the decision. However, the evidence of the wrong decision would be devastating,” she wrote.

A follow-up Facebook post said the district’s nursing staff finished making more than 70 phone calls and completed the notification process to all high school, middle school and elementary school families involved in the three positive cases Thursday, and several tests were pending on students.

As of Thursday, the district had reported 72 COVID-19 cases, according to the state’s COVID-19 Report Card tracker — 53 on- and off-site students and 19 on- and off-site teachers and staff.

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