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UPDATE: Gowanda, Silver Creek moving to remote

Two area schools that are part of or border Erie County will be going to a remote model. Both the Silver Creek and Gowanda Central Schools announced the plans for different reasons.

In a statement Thursday morning, Gowanda Central School district Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson said that this model applies to all except for self-contained classrooms and select programs that are off campus in non-designated areas.

“I make this decision with a heavy heart,” he wrote. “We have done all in our power to keep students and each other safe over these past several months. I am incredibly proud of all of you. The best and safest place for students is at school, but there are circumstances happening outside of our immediate control.”

Silver Creek, through their Facebook page, said two members of its Transportation Department tested positive for COVID-19. Also, the district revealed, a middle school student tested positive.

“The County Health Department has conducted their contact tracing and has advised that other members of our Transportation Department quarantine, leaving us understaffed and barely to transport effectively.

“To that end, we are making the decision to transition the entire District to a fully remote learning model for next Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 23 and 24. These two days, combined with Thanksgiving Recess, will allow approximately 9 days of space, distance, and separation for all staff and students. We plan to resume in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 30. I wanted to make this announcement this afternoon so that we could adequately inform students/families so appropriate childcare arrangements can be made for next Monday and Tuesday.”

Anderson noted the continuing woes in Erie County. “The rate of community spread in Western New York and locally is accelerating. One half of our district is in a designated yellow-zone and if trends continue, I would suspect the other half will be soon,” he said. After discussing with the Board in public last night, the Board felt that we should be proactive in our response to help ensure safety and reduce community spread.

“This is unlike our spring closure. We are not closed, just moving to a new model. I expect to be back in the hybrid model as soon as possible when our regional metrics allow us to be back. I am hoping to return to hybrid on 1/4/21, but the next several weeks will determine the actual return to hybrid. These are tough times that are challenging for all. I understand. Stay strong, be brave, and look out for each other.”

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