TIOGA, N.Y. (WETM) – Tioga County has declared a State of Emergency in response to COVID-19, and plan on closing all schools and extracurricular activities immediately until April 14th.

Tioga County Legislative Chair and Public Health Director Lisa McCafferty, and Emergency Manager Michael Simmons have coordinated with school superintendents to develop a unified plan for an extended dismissal of students.

Governor Cuomo, through his executive order of March 13th placed authority for school dismissal at the local level, and these actions are taken as a precaution to be standardized across the county.

Schools may remain open to administrative staff and staff services.

In the interim, Tioga County officials are continuing to monitor and respond to all COVID-19 concerns and remain in close communication with school districts.

“Continuing our collective efforts of ‘social-distancing’, we have directed schools in Tioga County to close” said McCafferty. “School dismissal is an effective public health measure to prevent and slow the transmission of COVID-19.”

County officials stress that these measures are precautionary in nature.

“We urge the citizens to rely upon facts provided by health officials and not to default to undue fear,” said Martha Sauerbrey. “This declaration follows suit of many counties in New York and states across the nation, which is meant to support social-distancing efforts. While our daily routines may change in the short-term. I encourage everyone to remain calm as we go through this process.”