MALONE — All Franklin County schools will be learning from home through Jan. 4, 2021, North Franklin Educational Center officials said in a press release Tuesday.
County Public Health officials strongly suggested making the shift to remote classrooms, due to the COVID-19 infection numbers rising “exponentially” in the last week. Officials are calling it “an epidemic within a pandemic,” adding that the community spread through the county is at a point where “officials aren’t able to identify where every case comes from.”
Franklin County Director of Public Health Kathleen Strack in a statement said contact tracing “can only do so much when people don’t remember who they’ve been in contact with or aren’t truthful with us.”
“... it only works after people have already gotten sick,” Strack said.
Because the highest rate of infection is in the northern part of the county, four school districts — Brushton-Moira, St. Regis Falls, Salmon River and the Malone central school districts — as well as FEH BOCES’s North Franklin Educational Center, will shift to remote learning.
Staff and students attended school in person on Tuesday and prepared for the change, which is set to begin Thursday. There is no school on Wednesday, due to the Veterans Day holiday.
Chateaugay Central School District, also in Franklin County’s north end, already transitioned to a fully remote learning model this week due to a COVID-19 exposure. Chateaugay Central will also remain remote through Jan. 4, 2021.
On the southern side of the county, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake school districts, along with FEH BOCES’s Adirondack Educational Center in Saranac Lake, will go remote as a precautionary measure. This is in order to attempt prevention of the spread in the north from reaching the area.
These schools will use this week to prepare and shift into remote learning on Monday, officials said.
Two school districts in the FEH BOCES region will remain in-person — the Long Lake Central School District is in Hamilton County and the Lake Placid Central School District is in Essex County.
This is because infection rates in those counties do not yet warrant school closure, officials said.