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Gowanda schools eyeing Jan. 19 return

GOWANDA — School board members discussed a plan last week to resume in-person education in the Gowanda School District. Part of the issue the school faces is that the elementary school is in Erie County, which has different restrictions than the high school, which is in Cattaraugus County.

“Our elementary school is in Erie County, which is a yellow zone, so we’re required to test,” said Gowanda Superintendent Dr. Robert Anderson. “We’re meeting with Cattaraugus County to set up testing within the next 10 to 14 days, so we will as promised return to hybrid instruction on Tuesday, January 19.”

As part of reopening in a hybrid capacity, the Gowanda School District has to have 20 percent of the students and staff at the elementary school tested. Anderson said there were six employees and students in the district that were either positive, isolated, or quarantined for COVID-19, though the school has not held an in-person session in several weeks. As part of having students tested, they can be tested at their regular physician or at the school, which the Board hopes alleviates some concerns for families. The tests must be completed within a two week window of the school reopening.

Staffing had been the largest issue for the school, which had 18 employees who had tested positive, and even more out for other COVID-19 related issues,. However, with the weeks of remote sessions, the situation has improved for the school.

“With the vaccine on the horizon for the area, and coming out of the holiday season, hopefully we have a turn for the best,” said Dr. Anderson. “I’m eager for the 19th and hopefully we can get everybody back.”

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