Franklin County officials say remote learning will help mitigate community spread of coronavirus

Franklin County

FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.Y. (WFFF) — Health leaders called the situation in Franklin County an epidemic within a pandemic. Tuesday was the last day of in-person instruction until January.

“If we can help stem the tide of this current spike in Franklin County, then it’s our duty and responsibility to do so,” said Dale Breault, superintendent of Franklin, Hamilton, Essex, BOCES, which encompasses 10 school districts and nearly 8,000 students.

He says Monday, Franklin County health leaders made the recommendation to go remote in order to get a handle on the rising numbers.

“Our discussion with schools was how can be proactive as possible in decreasing community spread,” said Erin Streiff, public health coordinator for Franklin County. “Not necessarily because we’re seeing cases primarily in school districts but because community spread affects school district operations.”

Streiff says the county is seeing an average of eight new cases each day and while it’s hard to pinpoint the reason for the spike, many cases are being linked to Columbus Day weekend and Halloween.

“We are concerned that we’re getting close to what would designate our region as a yellow zone,” she said. “Doing our own internal calculations, we’re concerned that we’re getting close and once we reach the yellow zone there are certain levels that have to be taken on a county level.”

A few schools including Chatagueay Central School and Malone Middle School went remote last week after isolated cases there. Now the rest of franklin county schools will follow suit.

“While lots of positive things can and will happen during a remote learning period, we enjoy the interactions we have in person with our students,” Breault said. “The BOCES that I work in, we offer a lot of career and technical education where kids are in hands-on programming and I saw a lot of sad faces coming into our building this morning.”

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