Canton Central lacks students for volunteer COVID testing, super says
BY MATT LINDSEY
North Country This Week
CANTON — Canton Central School does not have enough volunteers for COVID testing if the district is required to test students and staff due to a local outbreak.
The state is making changes to its COVID testing metrics that will determine if a school district can stay open for in-person instruction.“If you watched the governor’s press conference on Monday, he introduced a new concept that if a county is at 9% or above in terms of positivity rate that would then trigger the testing in schools and if the school was above the county’s average they would have to shut down,” CCS Superintendent Ron Burke said.
If districts are below the county percentage, they can remain open, but must test a certain percentage of students and staff for COVID.
As of the school board meeting Jan. 7, nothing from the state had been formalized.
CCS officials asked students and staff to volunteer for testing. Burke said at least half of the school staff has volunteered to be tested, but the district was not quite to its target zone for student testing volunteers. He added that they need about 270-300 student volunteers and currently have about 130.
If the district does not get the required number of students and staff required by the state for testing, they would have to end in-person learning at the time of an outbreak locally.
The school had to shut down in-person learning earlier this week partially due to a lack of transportation employees that had to quarantine due to possible COVID exposure. A hot water boiler was also cited as a reason for the short-term closure.
Burke did commend families for taking action when students show symptoms or are exposed to a COVID-positive person.
“Families are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “They are keeping their children home when they are symptomatic or when they’ve been exposed.”
He said that having 100 students absent, like they did this week, is not something to celebrate. But, the handling of the situation by the families is something to praise.
In more COVID-related news, Burke said that vaccines are or will be offered to school nurses very soon.