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Batavia City School District switches to remote learning

The district said 39 positive COVID cases involved staff and students, which prompted more than 100 people in its four buildings to quarantine.

BATAVIA, N.Y. — In a letter addressed to families, the Batavia City School District on Saturday announced that it will switch to remote learning.

The move runs through January 4, for now. The school district cited Genesee County's 8 percent positive test rate as a challenge for administrators.

The district said 39 of those cases were staff and students, which prompted more than 100 people in its four buildings to quarantine.

"Moving our entire district to 100% Virtual Remote Learning will give us the ability to focus primarily on one mode of teaching and learning and allow us to prepare for updated guidance from NYS that prioritizes safe in-person learning for all," superintendent Anibal Soler, Jr., said in a statement.

Among the issues the school district cited:

  • staffing in-person learning with certified staff members;
  • guidance regarding close contact and quarantining for staff and students;
  • the 14-day quarantine window, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation it could be as low as seven to 10 days;
  • social gatherings held outside of school, which poses a risk to anyone who is still coming to the school.

"Families of children who receive specialized instruction and various mandated therapy will be contacted by the district with options for teletherapy and targeted support," Soler said.

"BOCES Career Technical Education students will also attend their program virtually. This does not impact out-of-district placements and students who attend BOCES Alternative Academy and ITP programs. For the majority of our students, this equates to the loss of five in-person learning days over the course of the next 12 school days.

With any return to in-person learning, Soler said parents and guardians will need to fill out consent forms. So far, the district has only received consent from 483 families, which represents 24 percent.

Soler understood that not everyone will agree with the timing of the move.

"At a time where we should be focused on celebrating an upcoming winter break and spending time with our families, I know that this decision will impact many of you negatively, and that is not my intent," Soler said.

"Ultimately, my intent and one of my main responsibilities as your Superintendent is to always protect the physical and mental health and safety of our students, staff, and community."

    

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