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COVID forces North Country elementary school to go remote

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 5:40 PM EDT
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PERU, N.Y. (WCAX) - COVID cases have closed down a North Country elementary school for the week.

Peru Central School District Acting Superintendent Scott Storms says making the call to switch to fully remote is never easy but he said it’s what the district and the health department felt was best to keep the kids safe.

The playground was empty at lunchtime Monday, as 900 students in pre-K to fifth grade remained home due to COVID.

“I won’t give you the exact number but I will say to you that we have actually seen an increase among our population of kids that are unvaccinated. It almost doubled from the week before,” Storms said.

Students in the middle and high school are in a separate building on the campus and ride separate buses, which is why they remain in-person.

“We have more students in the 6-12 who are vaccinated so that helped in our decision process, as well,” Storms said.

He says it wasn’t an easy call to move to fully remote especially knowing that age group can’t stay home alone but there were plans in place to handle the situation if it were to occur. Third- to fifth-graders have Chromebooks with them to allow for schoolwork at home. The school also provided wireless hot spots to families with connectivity trouble.

“As for teachers, fortunately for us, they had to do some of this last year, so they have lessons prepared and are ready to go with that,” Storms said.

The call to go remote coincides with Columbus Day weekend, allowing for students to finish out all quarantine requirements.

The school is using this time to alter plans for a safer return.

Masks were already required, and now the district is looking to add more space to its social distancing requirements.

“We can close school for a period of time but my fear is that when we come back we’ll have it again anyway, so we are going to have to learn how to maneuver through this time,” Storms explained.

I did check with the health department; no other school closures have been recommended at this time.

Kids are expected back in their Peru classrooms next Tuesday.

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