Two Otsego County schools were forced to switch to remote learning this week following positive coronavirus tests from students. 

Cooperstown Central School and Morris Central School and both announced the week of remote learning Sunday, March 21. For Morris, the remote learning is for students from ninth to 12th grade, while for Cooperstown, the students going remote are in seventh to 12th grade.  

According to a message from new Cooperstown Superintendent Sarah Spross, which was sent to parents and also posted on the school’s website and social media platforms, “Cooperstown Central School learned that a student in the high school building tested positive for COVID. As required, the school identified all students and staff members who were in direct contact with this student according to the criteria established by the Department of Health.

“As a result, students, and staff in close contact with the individual who tested positive will be required to quarantine for 10 days from last point of contact, Tuesday, March 16. School principals and nurses will be contacting staff and parents/guardians of those students impacted. Due to the number of staff members requiring quarantine, grades 9-12 will move to remote instruction through March 26. Grades 9-12 will reopen for in person instruction on March 29, as appropriate,” Spross said.

“I recognize that some may be asking, ‘but I thought the teachers have been vaccinated.’ While many of our staff have received the vaccination, they are not considered fully vaccinated because they are not two weeks past receiving the second dose. Due to the number students requiring quarantine, the junior varsity and varsity volleyball season will be suspended through March 26. Junior varsity and varsity volleyball may resume play on March 27. It has been decided that the junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams will practice on March 27, and the game originally scheduled for this date may be rescheduled. Modified volleyball will continue as regularly scheduled.

“These decisions were not made lightly,” the message concludes. “The administrative team and our health staff met early Sunday morning to discuss this situation. Based on that discussion, information provided by the Department of Health, and out of an abundance of caution for our school and community, it was determined that that safest course of action was to move to remote instruction for grades 9-12 and to suspend the volleyball season for the junior varsity and varsity volleyball teams through March 26.

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding during these unprecedented times.”

Morris Superintendent Matthew Sheldon sent a similar message to parents Sunday, telling them four employees and one student have tested positive for COVID over the past week. The message was also posted online. 

“This morning we send the needed information for contact tracing to the Otsego County Department of Health, but still have not received a list from the department of what students will need to quarantine,” he wrote. “Because of this, we will be going remote (Monday) for all students in ninth through 12th grade. Students that attend a CTE class at the occupational center in Milford will also be remote for the day. It will be a normal day for all students and staff in grades PK through eight. 

“It is clear that the threat from COVID-19 continues to be real and this is no time to let our guard down,” Sheldon wrote. “Even though the CDC changed its guidelines for school districts across the country, Otsego County continued to be in a red zone or at a high level of transmission. As a result, the current protocols that we have in place at school need to continue; we are not able to adjust physical distancing, use of masks, etc.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding,” he concluded. “Please continue to remain vigilant in following the proper safety protocols to protect ourselves and others.” 

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