Surging cases force St. Regis school district to go remote

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 5:23 PM EST
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ST. REGIS FALLS, N.Y. (WCAX) - COVID cases are soaring in Franklin County, New York, and have led an entire school district to move to remote learning.

St. Regis Falls Central School District is back to learning online after one-third of the student body and staff needed to quarantine.

“Over the last two weeks we have seen a surge in upticks,” said St. Regis Falls Superintendent Anne Young. The hallways are silent and the classrooms are empty in the district for the second day. “Our first priority Monday is to make sure the students have their materials.”

St. Regis Falls Central School is closed through November 29.
St. Regis Falls Central School is closed through November 29.(WCAX)

Teachers on Monday prepared packets, emptied school lockers, and made home deliveries to all the students. Free meals will be dropped off on Wednesday and Friday and Young says students can sign up to continue deliveries. She says it’s not the first time the district has had to quickly move to remote learning. A spike in cases last month also to a week of online learning. “This is the first time we’ve pivoted to online learning for pre-K to 12,” Young said.

Franklin County Public Health Director Kathleen Strack says the county is seeing very high transmission rates with an average of 74 cases per 100,000 residents. As of Monday, there were 234 active cases and Strack says many more are in quarantine. Fifty-four of the 255 students in the district tested positive, with 12 cases in the 0-4 age group, 27 cases for 5-12, and 15 for 13-17 year-olds.

“Because of that and because of the lack of substitutes and the need for coverage, we were unable to keep our doors open for in-person learning,” Young explained.

Health officials say Halloween gatherings are the cause of the spike. The school district is asking parents do to their part this holiday season in following all COVID protocols and getting their child vaccinated, if eligible. “We do want our students here in person for teaching and learning and those are only things that are going to help us have students on our campus,” Young said.

Children are expected back in the classroom on November 29th.

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