Essex County schools update reopening plans amid facility outbreak

New York

An outbreak at Essex Center in Elizabethtown is affecting other parts of the county. The Boquet Valley Central School District is keeping kids out of the classroom longer. Now the 450 students in the district will all be logging on from home for the first day of school.

“We want to get our students back in person as quickly as we can,” said superintendent Josh Meyer. “We just feel this is an important step in doing that.”

Meyer says all students will be learning remotely for the first 5 weeks of the school year. The change comes just one week before students were set to come back to school.
He says this is necessary for the safety of students and staff, given the rise in cases at the nearby Essex Center in Elizabethtown.

“It’s in our community, it’s in our town, it’s very close to the school district,” Meyer said. “We know that some of those employees had frequented the local businesses and were likely in contact with our community members.”

He says the shift to virtual instruction does present some challenges, like access to internet in more rural areas.

“We do have some remote hot spots available for some of those families but even those don’t have tremendous success in some areas in our district.”

But school officials and health leaders feel that pausing for the 5 five weeks will put the district in a better position come October.

“Part of this was out of of caution, but we feel there’s also potential for real concern here as well,” Meyer said.

The Essex County Health Department is doing free testing clinic for any close contacts of those cases associated with the Essex Center cluster.

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