Schools in Jefferson, St. Lawrence counties confirm student COVID cases

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Watertown High School COVID entry policy (WWTI/ Isabella Colello)

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Throughout the week school districts across the North Country have reported new COVID-19 cases among students.

Although not required by the state, these districts have made the decision to report new cases to the community. This included several districts in both Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.

Starting the week on Monday, September 13, Gouverneur Central School District confirmed positive COVID cases. The District did not identify whether the case affected a student or employee.

However, Gouerverneur stated that there were students in the elementary, middle and high school directed to self-quarantine. These students have been temporarily following remote instruction. The District remains open for in-person instruction.

On September 14, the Edwards-Knox Central School District reported two COVID cases among students. According to the District, both cases were isolated and had minimal contact.

Those who had been in direct contact with the positive students were contacted by a school administrator or nurse. Students who were directed to self-quarantine were also assigned a tutor until they are cleared to return to school for in-person instruction.

Also in St. Lawrence County, the Ogdensburg City School District announced that it will now release COVID-19 Positive Case reports, listing cases in each school in the District. The first report was released on September 16.

According to Ogdensburg’s report, there are 28 active COVID-19 cases in the District. Of the total number of cases, 19 are in the John F. Kennedy Elementary School and nine are at the Ogdensburg Free Academy.

In Jefferson County, the South Jefferson Central School District reported new COVID cases on both September 14 and September 16. According to the District, on September 14, a high school student, two middle school students and one Wilson Elementary School student all tested positive for the virus. The cases at the high school and middle school resulted in other students and one staff member needing the quarantine.

On September 16, South Jefferson announced that both a Mannsville Elementary School student and a middle school student tested positive for the virus. The student who tested positive in the elementary school was in quarantine prior to testing positive, which resulted in no in-school contacts. At the middle school, some students were considered close contacts, however, some of those students are vaccinated.

Like last year, schools in New York will be required to report cases to the New York State Department of Health as many are returning to full in-person instruction. The DOH is not requiring school districts to communicate positive COVID-19 cases to their respective communities.

COVID reporting guidance was issued by New York State as a part of the 2021-2022 school year recommendations. The guidance also requires the use of facemasks, social distancing both in the classroom and on buses. It also requires unvaccinated faculty or staff to get weekly COVID testing.

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