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Dunkirk schools continuing remote model

The Dunkirk Board of Education voted to continue remote learning sessions for an additional two weeks through Feb. 1. The board left open the possibility of extending remote learning past the next two weeks, depending on the state of COVID-19 in the county and district.

Even if two weeks passes and students are allowed to return to in person learning, it would not be at full capacity. This decision comes amid other decisions from schools on whether to return to in-person learning based on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though there is no zone designation or mandatory testing dictated by state Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Dunkirk school board is choosing to proceed with caution as to not risk student or faculty and staff infection, as the cases in Chautauqua County and the Dunkirk area continue to rise dramatically. The board expressed their desire for students and staff to be as safe as possible, despite wanting them to return to the in-person model. According the the New York State COVID-19 School Report Card, the Dunkirk School District has had 75 students, faculty, or staff test positive since September.

The possibility of high-risk athletes, such as basketball players, being able to meet for conditioning with their coaches was also brought up, citing Fredonia and Silver Creek as two other schools in the area who are on the verge of allowing it. On that issue, the board decided they needed more information and that they did not feel comfortable at the current time allowing those students to meet for conditioning while the school continued to operate remotely. Section 6 did announce Tuesday that low risk sports including swimming, skiing, and bowling can begin practicing.

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