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Home » Brian Tomkins » Return to class delayed in Port Byron as COVID-19 cases surge in Cayuga County

Return to class delayed in Port Byron as COVID-19 cases surge in Cayuga County

Port Byron Superintendent Neil O’Brien says that his district will delay reopening as COVID-19 cases surge in Cayuga County.

“The new year brings hope and dreams of a return to normalcy, but it also forces us to deal with difficult decisions in regards to the ever-worsening pandemic in Port Byron and Cayuga County,” he said in a letter on Tuesday. “It is this light that I wish to share with you several important changes that we will be undertaking to help us navigate through the current crisis.”

O’Brien says students will continue remote instruction through January 11th due to 7% of the population currently being under quarantine. “Besides this incredibly large number, we are fearful it is likely to rise with the two major holidays,” he added in the letter. “Five or so days following each holiday will be strong indicators on the impact family celebrations will have on the spread of the virus. It is this data that will inform us of how we can proceed during the weeks ahead. We hope people are heeding the warnings of health officials, but we must plan according to information at hand. The numbers will drive our decision making.”

In addition to the delay of in-person instruction the district says it will take several other ‘key steps’. “We have built the infrastructure to voluntarily conduct rapid tests for the virus on students and staff with the assistance of the county. We have 600 tests in stock and will employ them when we return to in-person instruction,” O’Brien added. “Permission slips and a letter explaining the testing process will be sent home in the near future. Again, it is voluntary testing.”

“We will convene safety and building teams to examine our COVID-19 plan and to make recommendations for adjustments in light of the increasing spread of the virus and changes in state laws and regulations since we originally wrote the plan back in August. These adjustments along with random voluntary testing will assist us in the relaunching of in-person schooling.”

The district says it will continue to consider all options moving forward.