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One LP school goes remote after 3 days

As New York schools returned to session Monday, Jan. 4 after winter break, the state has a new rule for staying open during COVID-19: Schools in counties with a positivity level over 9% must remain below their communities’ positivity level to stay open for in-person instruction.

This will require around 20% of the student and staff population to get tested weekly, and district leaders say they are preparing for testing, if they need to do it. Testing would be done with kits from the counties.

On Sunday, Essex County had a 5.7% positivity rate in test results, with a 6.7% 7-day average of positive tests on Monday.

On Sunday, Franklin County had a 2.1% positivity rate in test results, with a 5.6% 7-day average of positive tests on Monday.

Lake Placid

On Monday, schools here returned to all in-person instruction, as they were doing before the fall virus spike sent portions of the different schools in the district remote. But that only lasted three days.

Superintendent Roger Catania said the middle-high school and elementary school reopening went well Monday, with administrators reemphasizing all the COVID-19 protocols. Catania said over time people forget the rules which allow them to stay in-person.

Yet on Wednesday afternoon, the school informed parents that the middle-high school would shift to remote learning on Thursday and Friday, possibly returning Monday, due to a case of COVID-19.

“A staff member at LPMSHS who was in school on Monday and Tuesday has tested positive,” stated the district’s voicemail to parents, adding that the Essex County Health Department would be conducting contact tracing.

The Lake Placid Elementary School was unaffected and remains in person for students.

As of Monday, 65 students across the district returned to all-remote learning.

Saranac Lake

Schools here returned from winter break to their hybrid schedules, as they had been operating on before a COVID-19 spike this fall drove them remote for several weeks.

Kindergarten through sixth grade are in school four days a week, with Wednesdays remote for building deep cleaning.

Half of students in seventh through 12th grades returned Monday, and the other half return today. These two groups are in school two days a week, on alternating days, spending their off days remote learning. Wednesdays are again set aside for deep cleaning.

As of Monday, district Superintendent Diane Fox said 41 students at Petrova Elementary chose to return from winter break to fully remote learning instead of the remote and in-person hybrid option. There were three students at Bloomingdale Elementary fully remote, 65 at the middle school and 76 at the high school.

Fox said some students are temporarily fully remote as they quarantine after traveling for the holidays.

She said plans to mix cohorts more often into larger classrooms have been scrapped until the end of January, as the district is tightening back up in preparation for a possible rise in coronavirus numbers.

“We want to make sure that we get to the end of this possible increase in COVID numbers that we saw after Thanksgiving,” Fox said. “We’re trying to make sure that our cohorts stay as consistent as possible.”

She said students and teachers were glad to be back in school.

“We smiled (this morning) because our students were all loaded down with their ski pants and their stuff to go outside,” Fox said. “We’ll try to be outside as much as we can and take advantage of what the North Country offers.”

The school will continue to provide meals for free through the end of the school year. The next pick-up is on Jan. 6 at the high school and Bloomingdale Elementary School from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m., and at the Algonquin and Lake Street apartments at 10 to 10:30 a.m.

Fully remote students will receive five days of breakfast and lunch. Students in grades seven through 12 will receive three days of lunch and breakfast. Students in kindergarten through sixth grades will bring home a lunch and breakfast on Tuesday afternoon.

Tupper Lake

Schools here returned from winter break to their hybrid schedules, as they had been operating on before a COVID-19 spike this fall drove them remote for several weeks.

Kindergarten through sixth grade are in school four days a week, with Wednesdays remote for building deep cleaning.

Half of students in seventh through 12th grades returned Monday, and the other half returned Tuesday. These two groups are in school two days a week, on alternating days, spending their off days remote learning. Wednesday’s are again set aside for deep cleaning.