STEUBEN COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – A four percent increase of COVID cases in Steuben County over the last three weeks has caused parts of the area to be in the Yellow Zone.
Being in the yellow zone means a 50 percent capacity in houses of worship, mass gatherings are capped at 25, four people per table in or out or restaurants, and mandatory weekly testing in of students, teachers, and staff in schools.
Corning-Painted Post school district says that if they were to do the testing the state requires, the schools would have to conduct over 1,000 tests, too many for the school to maintain the hybrid learning model.
“A factor in the decision to move to 100% remote learning is the capacity of the district to meet the State guidance to COVID test 20% of the district population while we are in this zone. Because this would require almost 1100 tests per week, we are unable to remain in our hybrid model,” Superintendent Michelle Caulfield said in a statement.
Remote learning can be difficult for students as well as parents. Cindy Lewis-Black’s 11-year-old son attends the Corning Painted-Post Middle School. She is grateful that she can work from home for two days of the week but isn’t sure what she is going to do for the rest of the week.
“I kind of knew that it was going to happen at some point,” said Lewis-Black. “It just brings up a lot of chaos in my world of ‘now what do I do?’ I really can’t be home five days a week, his dad can’t be home five days a week, how do we make this work?”
Lewis-Black knows that her son isn’t getting the same level of education during remote learning but recognizes that this the best thing for her family and the community.
“I don’t know if it’s the best thing in the world for him, I would love to see him in school, in a normal setting, but I understand that that’s not possible right now,” said Lewis-Black.
Addison Central School released a statement that they have decided to transition to full remote learning as well as sighting the difficulty surrounding the amount of testing that would be needed otherwise.
Addison Central Schools:
“Addison Central Schools to transition to virtual learning Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo designated a portion of Steuben County, which includes part of the Addison Central School District, a “yellow zone” due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. We have consulted with the Steuben County Public Health Department and, unfortunately, together we determined that at this time we cannot meet the 20 percent weekly testing of students and staff that would be required in order for us to continue with our hybrid model of learning. As a result, the Addison Central School District will transition to full-time virtual learning for all students (PreK-12) beginning on Tuesday, October 27. We remind district families that this Friday is a half-day for K-12 students and Valley Early Childhood School does not have school that day. Currently, we are planning for this transition to last for two weeks. However, if our ability to conduct testing changes or the positive rate declines for our area, we may be able to open sooner. We will share any updates with our school community as they become available.”
The Town of Campbell is listed as one of the Towns in the yellow zone, but Campbell-Savona Central School District Superintendent Kathleen Hagenbuch says that their school is unaffected for not.
“A small area in the southwest part of our district is in the yellow zone…see below map from governor’s press conference. However the good news for now is that none of C-S’s school buildings or facilities are located in the yellow zone and therefore we are not presently considered a “yellow zone” school and are not required to randomly test students or staff,” Hagenbuch said in an email.