Voorheesville sixth-graders will be remote for the second day in a row.

NEW SCOTLAND — Voorheesville sixth-grade parents were notified on Thursday afternoon that children would be learning from home for a second straight day.

Superintendent Frank Macri notified parents on Wednesday that the school district had learned that a member of the Voorheesville Middle School community had tested positive for COVID-19.

The county’s health department recommended that only the sixth grade be fully remote for Thursday, Sept. 24.

“The status of the Grade 6 instructional program will be evaluated after the Department of Health has been able to conduct their contract tracing protocols and the district will notify the community accordingly,” said a letter sent to parents on Wednesday. 

The positive case in Voorheesville comes on the heels of two cases of COVID-19 at Altamont Elementary from different households.

Asked why only the sixth grade would go remote on Thursday and not the entire middle and high school campus, Macri told The Enterprise on Wednesday that the county’s health department had recommended it. “And it was out of an overabundance of caution to give [the Department of Health] the ability to have their contact tracing put in place,” he said.

After the contact tracing — identifying the people who were exposed to the person who tested positive — takes place, Macri said on Wednesday, students or staff members may have to quarantine. Because the coronavirus can take up to 14 days to incubate, people who have been exposed are to quarantine for 14 days.

But Macri hopes, if that is the case, that it will be a small number of people who have to quarantine because “we’re more adept to be able to do this now.”

Voorheesville students are now tracked and kept in “pods”  — of between 9 and 15 students — and the district knows where they are for every period of the day, Macri said Wednesday. So, if there is “an intermingling or interaction” among students who have tested positive, the district will know who else that student has been near.

About 20 percent of Voorheesville students had requested the district’s remote-learning option to start the school year, but Macri didn’t immediately know the percentage of sixth-grade students who had selected the option. 

“We’re doing our very best to mitigate the situation,” Macri said on Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve seen many of our neighboring districts … having a case at this point. But we’re doing our very best to develop our processes and protocols, and  keeping our community safe.” ​

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