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St. Lawrence County schools see 200+ COVID cases since classes started

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 2:17 PM EDT
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ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY, New York (WWNY) - When school started full-time in St. Lawrence County just a few weeks ago, everyone was hopeful. But then reality and COVID-19 set in. Public Health says it has seen more than 200 cases linked to school since the year began.

Superintendents are frustrated, but working to keep kids in the classroom.

“I worry about the younger students, from pre-K, first, and second. They’ve really known nothing but masks, in-person instruction. I worry about upper level students, who some of those normal high school experiences, they might not have the chance to participate in,” said Colton-Pierrepont Central School District Superintendent James Nee.

Students and staff across the north country are in the beginning of their third COVID school year.

Nee says he felt the excitement in the air the first day with kids in school in-person five-days a week.

“We lived the entire school year last year and thought we’d be in a difference place and we’re finding that we’re not,” he said.

Nee says the district has seen over ten positive cases, with more than 80 students in quarantine. Those students are learning online along with their classmates from home. One classroom only has three students in-person.

The Heuvelton Central School District has seen seven cases so far. It’s sports teams are taking the hit.

“We’ve had games that have been canceled because opponents weren’t available. We’ve also had to cancel games because we can’t field the squad,” said Jesse Coburn, Heuvelton superintendent.

On Thursday, St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES Superintendent Tom Burns said some schools in the county are close to shutting down.

Though they’ve seen their fair share of cases, Huevelton and Colton-Pierrepont haven’t gotten to that point and they’re hopeful they won’t get to it.

“We’re looking forward to that curve to, like you mentioned, plateau, and/or then, invert, so we can see the decline,” said

Coburn.

Burns mentioned cases seemed to be plateauing in the county, but blamed this sudden spike in St. Lawrence County on its low vaccination rate. Officials say 52-percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

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