Capital Region

COVID dashboard: Smattering of cases emerge in districts around the region

Drive-thru and walk-up community testing at Yates Elementary in Schenectady for residents with COVID-19 symptoms in May.
Drive-thru and walk-up community testing at Yates Elementary in Schenectady for residents with COVID-19 symptoms in May.

CAPITAL REGION — A handful of school districts across the Capital Region have experienced at least one COVID-19 case in recent days as students return to school and districts start reporting infection data on a regular basis.

Burnt Hills, Mohonasen, Gloversville, North Colonie, Queensbury and East Greenbush school districts have all reported at least one positive case among students, teachers and staff over the past two weeks, according to data reported on the state’s new school district COVID-19 dashboard.

School leaders around the region have taken a when-not-if attitude to positive cases as they point to scores of new precautions to limit interactions in school buildings.

Educators have also seen the potential of a single case causing wide-reaching consequences. A group meeting at Ballston Spa caused a large number of administrators there to quarantine. Also, Mohonasen had to close schools for nearly a week after an administrator tested positive the day after nearly all of the district’s leader gathered in a conference room for lunch.

Mohonasen is set to reopen schools Friday, and Superintendent Shannon Shine in a note Wednesday to parents and staff said none of the quarantined administrators tested positive. The district did also report Sept. 10 a non-teacher staff member at Draper Middle School had tested positive.

“It is an understatement to say that the derailment of our original opening plans have caused concern and disappointment,” Shine wrote in the note to parents. “Now is our chance to get back up, so to speak, and to show that we can safely reopen to in-person learning.”

In Gloversville, district officials were notified Wednesday a student at Park Terrace tested positive for the virus; the child, who was exhibiting mild symptoms, had not been back to school since Sept. 11.

The district provided a list of potential interactions to Fulton County Health Department officials, who contacted those people and asked those with potential exposure to quarantine, according a letter from Gloversville superintendent. The district kept the school open, while people who were asked to quarantine will have to stay out of the building until Sept. 28.

“This is permitted because our reopening procedures and protocols limit exposure and the number of individuals being asked to quarantine is very low,” Gloversville Superintendent David Halloran wrote in a Wednesday letter of his own.

Separately, the Meco School in the Gloversville district, which hosts an HFM BOCES special education program, closed Wednesday following a positive case there. The school is expected to reopen for students and staff Sept. 28. BOCES is the only occupant of the building, and district officials have worked with the Fulton County Health Department to conduct contact tracing.

A Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School student who had not been to the high school since the start of the school year also tested positive in recent days, school officials were notified Tuesday night, according to a message posted on the district website Wednesday.

District officials worked with the Saratoga County Health Department to identify anyone the student may have been in close contact with outside of school, and the student will remain isolated for 14 days. No district school had to close as a result of the infection.

“This notification to parents and our community at large is part of our commitment to keep you informed during these uncertain times,” district officials wrote in the online message.

Queensbury and East Greenbush also reported positive cases in the past two weeks. The steady stream of cases comes as districts begin in-person instruction for the first time since March. Some districts, like Amsterdam and Ballston Spa, are still moving toward their first day in school buildings.

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