COVID-19 Report Cards track school infections
First case reported at Wellsville Central, no infections in Hornell City School District
There have been no COVID-19 infections in the Hornell City School District since the fall semester began last month, according to a coronavirus tracking dashboard.
Meanwhile, the Wellsville Central School District had a clean COVID-19 slate until Tuesday, when the district reported its first infection after a secondary level student tested positive for the virus over the weekend.
Canisteo-Greenwood had a teacher and a student test positive this week, while teachers in the Avoca and Jasper-Troupsburg districts also tested positive.
Other area districts show a limited number of infections, with totals ranging from none to just a couple for most schools.
The New York State COVID-19 Report Card is one of the latest tools available to the public for tracking the coronavirus pandemic.
Each district’s daily report card can be accessed by typing https://schoolcovidreportcard.health.ny.gov/#/home into an internet browser, selecting the type of school system — public, charter or private — and then entering the name of the district.
Every school district is required to report COVID-19 test results to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) daily.
COVID-19 positive data includes students, teachers and staff enrolled in the school district “On-site” and “Off-site.” This information is either shared by the parent/guardian of the student, notified by teachers and other staff, or communicated by the local health department.
As of Thursday, the Hornell City School District had no positive cases of COVID-19. Asked about the district’s “clean slate” up to at least Thursday, Superintendent Jeremy Palotti responded cautiously.
“As we know, this can change quickly and despite the "clean slate" we are preparing and at the ready should that change.”
Palotti continued, “Of course we would like to attribute the current ‘clean slate’ on our creation and adherence to health policies but I do not think that would be fair to those that have had cases in their schools. What I have seen however when there are cases connected to schools is that very infrequently are those cases created in the school or transferred in the school. Typically, we are seeing that these cases are spread more during activities outside of the school setting. What that says is that the policies that are in place are certainly helping in preventing the spread.”
“I can say that I am proud of our kids, employees and parents for their work in following the guidelines. I think our conservative approach with our hybrid schedule assists with this and will also assist in our ability to trace, quarantine and keep school open.”
While Palotti has said the district’s ultimate goal is to every Hornell student back in the school buildings full-time, the time for that has not arrived, yet.
“It is too soon to plan for full in person instruction at this time for Hornell,” he said. “With the number of daily cases being reported in the county, we need to see where this goes and to see how it impacts us in Hornell. “Once we see this data and reflect on our current program and practice as they connect with the NYSDOH guidelines we can then evaluate if there is an opportunity to consider bringing some students back to a more full time basis. All that is to say is that it is way too soon to say at this point and when the time comes to move in this direction we will do so slowly and based on the overall health of the community.”
In Dansville, a primary student tested positive off-site, and one Ellis B. Hyde Elementary teacher/staff tested positive onsite, according to the COVID-19 Report Card.
According to Dansville superintendent Dr. Paul J. Alioto, the student tested positive prior to classes beginning in September.
“We had one student who was quarantined before school began and never attended school until after the quarantined period had expired," Alioto said.
The staffer who tested positive is an employee the district shares with an out-of-district program.
"The staff member has also been cleared by the county to return to normal activities, including work," the superintendent said.
Alioto said schools have to prepare for the unexpected.
“Every day can bring new challenges," he said. "We are just a phone call from the Livingston County Department of Health from having to intervene in ways that could send students and staff home."
The Report Card online site also includes tracking information for New York colleges and universities. At Alfred State College, tracking data shows a total of 18 positive cases of COVID-19 out of 3,298 campus-administered tests. Alfred State’s current three-day rolling average shows 248 tests have been administered with one positive case reported.
At Alfred University, there have been 12 cases of COVID-19 out of 1,846 campus-administered tests. However, Alfred’s three-day rolling average is 100 percent, with two tests administered and two positive cases reported.
Wellsville’s first positive case did not turn up until recent days. Prior to Tuesday, the district’s Report Card showed zero cases in each category. The district said it did not close its building after the positive test because the student has had limited exposure to other members of the school community.
“Unfortunately, we no longer have a clean slate,” David Foster, Wellsville school superintendent, acknowledged.
The district offers a hybrid schedule at the secondary school level, with health and safety procedures in place for when students are receiving in-person instruction.
“I believe these policies are working to mitigate the spread of COVID, but there is certainly a possibility that a non-symptomatic person may unknowingly spread the virus,” Foster said.
At the elementary level, Wellsville is providing an all in-person teaching model for families.
According to Foster, both models are expected to remain in place at this time.
“We are going to continue with our current hybrid schedule at the secondary school and with the in-school instruction at the elementary,” Foster said. “To change our format, we would need a change in distancing expectations from the State Department of Health.
“I feel very fortunate that we had the ability to offer the full in-class instruction at the Elementary. In the Secondary School, students who are remote are largely able to follow a normal schedule with complete classes occurring by live electronic means. It is not the optimum by any means, but I am glad we were able to provide the program we could. My hope is that we will continue to offer this level and at some point, we would be able to expand the in-school instruction when it is considered safe to do so.”