WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Like last year, schools in New York will be required to report cases to the New York State Department of Health (DOH) as many are returning to full in-person instruction. The DOH does not require school districts to communicate positive COVID cases to their respective communities.

With only one week into the school year, North Country educators are already confirming student cases, and some schools in the region are enacting their own protocols to report cases to the community. This includes weekly press releases or on a case-by-case basis.

In a statement to families during the first week of school, Watertown City School District Superintendent Patricia LaBarr confirmed that they’ll send weekly COVID updates every Friday. She said that these updates will work to “keep the community informed,” but also not “inundate inboxes.” LaBarr confirmed that seven students tested positive in the first week of school. The South Jefferson Central School District is also confirmed that one of its students tested positive for the virus on September 8.

In St. Lawrence County, the Gouverneur Central School District on September 10 confirmed a COVID case in its community. The press release did not identify the individual as either a student or staff. The Edwards-Knox Central School District also reported a student COVID case on September 9.

Contact tracing, quarantining, and testing were arranged as appropriate for any individuals exposed, according to these North Country districts.

COVID reporting guidance was issued by New York State as a part of the 2021-2022 school year recommendations. The guidance also requires the use of facemasks, social distancing both in the classroom and on buses. It also requires unvaccinated faculty or staff to get weekly COVID testing.