Massena schools urge patience with COVID rules


MASSENA — COVID-19 guidance is changing on a regular basis, but it doesn’t necessarily impact everyone immediately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health have amended pandemic guidance, and the St. Lawrence County Public Health Department “has started looking at those rules and amending them,” Massena Central High School Principal Alan C. Oliver said in his latest update to parents.

That makes it difficult to keep up with the changes that could impact the school.

“The rules are changing so fast right now with this that it’s a full-time job for us just to try and keep up with the rules that we’re trying to follow, and we are doing our level best,” Mr. Oliver said.

He said Superintendent Patrick H. Brady meets on a regular basis with the county Public Health Department, as does he and the school nurse. He said those meetings are “almost weekly, if not at least every other week.”

“And I’m guessing Mr. Brady has probably had calls with them multiple times at this point just to kind of keep a handle on where the rules actually are. As rules change in school, we will communicate that to you,” Mr. Oliver told parents.

But the changing of the rules isn’t always instantaneous, he said.

“There’s a lot of confusion right now because the CDC is saying things like five-day quarantine. Well, just because the CDC said, it doesn’t mean that’s filtered down to the school yet,” he said.

Information must be filtered down from the highest level to the local level, and that takes time.

“There’s a process that works through going from the CDC, the New York state Department of Health and local boards, and decisions have to be made and things need to be communicated out,” Mr. Oliver said.

He said patience is important.

“So, bear with us and bear with the process,” he said.

“I know it can be maddening. Really, you watch the news. You hear one thing and then you call the school the next day and it’s something else,” he added. “That puts Mrs. Miller (district Head Nurse AnneMarie Miller) and myself and everybody really in a terrible spot trying to explain everything that’s going on. But, just know that we will communicate our changes, any important changes as quickly as we have them and we know what they are.”

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