Surge in COVID-19 cases is game changer in Massena

WWNY Surge in COVID-19 cases is game changer in Massena

MASSENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Massena now has the bulk of St. Lawrence County’s active COVID-19 cases.

One of the biggest effects of that is the delay of in-person classes in the Massena Central School District.

Students were supposed to return to class Tuesday, but district officials are opting for at least a month of remote learning only to start the school year.

Online classes will begin this Thursday and run at least until October 13.

Officials will consider whether to continue remote learning at that time.

It was hard news to take.

“My daughter found out at 9 o’clock at night. She cried for two hours. I couldn’t even get her to go to sleep,” said

Katherine Gibbs, a parent of 3 Massena students.

Other students felt the same.

“I really wanted to go,” said Violet Dupra, Massena 2nd grader. “I feel it’s more comfortable learning with a teacher.”

“Education is important to everyone. Without it we wouldn’t be able to get a job, graduate from college,” said Lillian Carr, Massena 8th grader.

Classes will be taught online. District Superintendent Patrick Brady cited numbers to explain why. There are 14 active cases in Massena. Two weeks ago there were none. Maybe more alarming, those 14 people had contact with 100 others.

“It doesn’t take much. If there’s one person or a couple of people who have had contact and then those people have had contacts with others … then it really doesn’t take that much to cause that kind of number to emerge,” said Donald Straight, SUNY Potsdam instructor.

St. Lawrence County Public Health has warned of possible exposures at several Massena businesses on specific dates at specific times. They have recommended anyone there at those times get tested for COVID-19.

“That’s why the contact tracing process is so critical,” said Straight.

The Massena cases are a big contributor to a rise in active cases countywide.

People in Massena want to know what’s next. Most had thought the biggest impacts of COVID-19 were in the past. Now, they’re not so sure.

Brady stated Public Health’s investigation in Massena is still ongoing and there remains uncertainty as to the extent of the spread at this time.

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