Voorheesville’s high school to go all-remote for a week; on-site testing to start soon

NEW SCOTLAND — The Voorheesville Central School District announced on Monday that, due to a virus-related staffing shortage, all high school students would move to remote learning for a week, starting Tuesday, Jan. 12. 

On Thursday, after this story had gone to print, Superintendent Frank Macri told The Enterprise that the district plan to start random on-site coronavirus would not start until next week. Macri had said on Monday the plan was to start testing by the end of this week.

“We are working through the details. Hopefully early next week, but too many irons in the fire to be certain on the day,” Macri said in a Jan. 14 email when asked for a specific start date

The decision to go remote was made after a teacher at Clayton A. Bouton High School tested positive for COVID-19 and contact-tracing revealed that a number of teachers would have to quarantine after coming into contact with their colleague.

If, for example, seven teachers are quarantined at the small school district, it would take just a couple of more calls out sick to create a staffing shortage, said Macri. “We don’t have the [staff available] to be able to make sure we have coverage in the classroom, and that’s the number-one goal: We need supervision,” he said.

Teachers who are under quarantine will teach from home, Macri said, while teachers not under quarantine will come into the building and teach from their classrooms. There are 40 teachers in the high school, according to the state’s COVID-19 Report Card, and 325 students, about a third of whom are learning from home.

Macri said that the district received approval this week to begin using its state-supplied diagnostic COVID-19 tests, and had hoped to start testing by the end of the week, but “unforeseen circumstances have occurred,” Macri said in a Jan. 14 email, that would not allow testing to start this week.

A 20-percent mixture of students and staff will have to be tested within the first two weeks, he said.

“It’s a ballpark number,” Macri said of the 20-percent testing rate, “we’d love to get more than that.”

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