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Lake Placid 7th grade stays remote; other students will return

Lake Placid Middle/High School (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — Seventh-graders will study remotely through Thanksgiving break. Students in other grades in Lake Placid Middle-High School will return to class on Tuesday.

School administrators made the decision to temporarily keep the district’s seventh-graders home over the weekend, in consultation with the Essex County Health Department, after a positive case of COVID-19 was identified at the school this past Friday. The middle-high school was closed on Monday for deep cleaning, in accordance with the district’s reopening plan.

The county Health Department, in its contact tracing investigation, identified 30 students and seven faculty members who are considered close contacts of the positive case, and are thus required to quarantine for 14 days. As of the first day of school, there were 49 seventh-graders enrolled in the Lake Placid Central School District.

The district is not saying whether the case identified was a student, teacher or staff member. Superintendent Roger Catania said the district wants to protect the privacy of the person as much as possible.

Students’ families were updated about the situation by phone twice over the weekend and should have also received email updates from the school, according to Catania.

The district was in constant contact with the county Health Department over the weekend.

“The job they do is tremendous,” Catania said. “They spend a significant amount of time communicating with each and every person, and in the case of students, with their parents. The case we’re talking about here we learned about on Friday. The department was working all weekend to make sure they were doing their job thoroughly. They were very knowledgeable about each person they were talking to.”

School administrators met via conference call over the weekend and discussed how the district should proceed. With guidance from the county Health Department, which was based in part on previous experience with cases at other school districts in the county, administrators ultimately decided to keep seventh-graders at home.

“We all agreed that they had identified the group that needed to be identified, and it would be safe to bring everybody else back,” Catania said. “We’ve ensured the school is deep-cleaned and ready for students to return.”

Parents with questions can reach out to middle school Principal Theresa Lindsay at tlindsay@lakeplacidcsd.net.

“We’re confident that the school is safe for students to return,” Catania said Monday. “We’re looking forward to seeing students back in the building tomorrow.”

Lake Placid Elementary School was unaffected by the closure Monday and continues to offer in-person classes for students five days a week.