Potsdam High School suspends in-person classes after 2 COVID-19 cases are confirmed

WWNY Potsdam High School suspends in-person classes after 2 COVID-19 cases are confirmed

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There are now two COVID-19 cases at Potsdam schools and the high school will now suspend in-person classes for at least two weeks.

It was a more nervous arrival than usual at Potsdam schools Thursday. Parents had learned the day before the schools had their first COVID-19 case. But most were taking it in stride.

“I figured it was a risk when we decided to send our kids back and we’ll take it as it comes if we get a phone call saying we have to self-quarantine. We’ll do it and take it as it comes,” said Barbara Vile, parent.

It was the first COVID-19 case in a St. Lawrence County school this school year. It all developed quickly on Wednesday.

“We received a call from St. Lawrence County Public Health yesterday afternoon, informing us that we had a positive case in the school district,” said Joann Chambers, district superintendent.

Work immediately began to track down anyone who might have had contact with the person. The count of those with contact came to about 20 students and two staff members. They are now quarantining.

Since then, one of those contacts has tested positive for COVID-19. That person’s contacts are now being tracked down.

“Public Health reaches out directly to those individuals. So if you didn’t get a call, then your child or adult was likely not a contact,” said Chambers.

The school has not said whether the two cases are students or staff members, but it is saying all contacts from the cases appear to have been in the high school. That led to the next big decision.

“Based on discussions with public health, we’ve made the decision that Potsdam High School students would shift to a fully remote learning model for the next two weeks,” said Chambers.

Public Health will be consulted before any decision to resume in-person classes is made.

Schools across the county will be watching closely what develops in Potsdam. They have all been preparing for the same kind of possible scenario in their schools for months.

Just two weeks ago, Massena schools abruptly decided to cancel the start of in-person classes. In-person learning will resume there October 13 at the earliest.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.