MASSENA — Massena Central School Superintendent Patrick Brady is warning parents and guardians that an email that’s circulating and is attributed to him, regarding coronavirus cases in the district, is fake.
The email which contains Mr. Brady’s name and position as the sender alleges that students have tested positive for the coronavirus at Madison Elementary School and J. William Leary Junior High School. But that information was false.
Mr. Brady said he was contacted by a building principal Tuesday night to make him aware that the email was circulating in the community and had been sent to her by a concerned staff member.
“When we started to get calls this morning from concerned parents, that’s when I decided it was important to send out a blanket email to let people know the information was not true,” he said.
In some cases, parents indicated they wanted their child to switch to remote learning rather than in-person learning.
The email said, in part, “It has been brought to my attention that someone is circulating a fake e-mail attributed to me stating that we have students who have tested positive for coronavirus at Madison Elementary School and J. William Leary Junior High School. I am writing to let everyone know that this information is absolutely false.”
“We do not have positive cases at these schools. As I officially reported earlier this week, we had one positive case at the high school. It was limited in such a way that we did not need to close the high school for remote learning. That’s the only case we’ve had to date in our schools. That’s the only case we’re dealing with right now,” Mr. Brady said.
District officials had been informed that a staff member at the high school had tested positive for COVID-19. After working with the county Public Health Department to assist in the contact tracing process, some staff and a few students were directed by Public Health to quarantine, but there was no need to close the high school because of the limited contact.
Mr. Brady said it was “very concerning” that an individual or individuals would impersonate a school official and spread false information regarding something that has caused concerns in communities.
“The person or persons are playing on people’s worst fears these days that we have coronavirus in our schools,” he said.
He said that what made it more concerning was the fake email came at a time when real coronavirus cases were on the rise in the county.
Mr. Brady said staff members were working hard every day to keep all of the students safe and the doors to their schools open. He said, if there are positive cases within the district, they would work with the county Public Health Department and would use official channels to let others know what decisions were made.