More coronavirus data needed

POTSDAM — All Potsdam Central School District students are shifting to remote learning until Nov. 30 and possibly longer after district officials learned that one positive COVID-19 case and two suspected cases may affect many students and staff.

In a Friday Facebook post, Superintendent Joann Chambers said there is a possibility that remote learning may continue beyond Nov. 30.

“St. Lawrence County is currently experiencing a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, and the county has declared a state of emergency. We are communicating frequently with Public Health to assess the situation and may plan for an extended period of remote learning if the current public health crisis warrants it,” Ms. Chambers said.

She said while the district does not currently have plans to continue remote learning beyond Nov. 30, “families should prepare for the possibility of a long-term closure. If this occurs, we will communicate any changes to the current plan with our community as soon as a decision is made.”

According to the state’s COVID-19 Report Card online tracker, the district had reported six positive cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday — two on-site students at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School and two on-site students at Potsdam Central High School, as well as two on-site staff members at A.A. Kingston Middle School.

Meanwhile, St. Lawrence Central Elementary School, Brasher Falls, students who have been learning remotely Thursday and Friday have received clearance to return to the classroom Monday.

Superintendent Robert Stewart said they worked with the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department to complete the contact tracing process related to an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

“It is believed that anyone who may have been exposed has been contacted and placed in quarantine,” he said in a message on the district’s website. “With this information, we are able to make the decision to resume in-person instruction on Monday, November 16th. Students and staff will report to school in the usual manner.”

While the elementary school students shifted to remote learning, the remainder of the district continued with in-person learning.

“Our ability to pivot seamlessly to all remote learning is a testament to the hard work and efforts of our staff, students, and community. I’m proud of the way our students handled the transition but will be happy to have them back in school. We are very appreciative of our partnership with St. Lawrence County Public Health in keeping our students and staff safe,” Mr. Stewart said.

As of Thursday, the state’s COVID-19 Report Card online tracker indicated six positive cases of COVID-19 — one on-site high school student, one off-site elementary school student and three off-site high school students, as well as one elementary school staff member.

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