District plans to return to in-person instruction Dec. 1
FULTON — Students in the Fulton City School District are moving to a fully remote learning model until at least December after another student tested positive for COVID-19.
Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing throughout Oswego County in November, with the county setting records for new daily cases twice in the past week and reaching 300 active cases per day. The Fulton City School District (FCSD) announced several positive cases in students and staff over the past month, and earlier this week at least three schools moved to temporary remote learning before the decision was made Friday for all students to learn virtually through the end of November.
Superintendent Brian Pulvino, in a video message posted Friday to YouTube, said the district is moving to remote learning "out of an abundance of caution" in all schools through the Thanksgiving break. Pulvino said the decision was informed by information not made available until late Friday afternoon.
"We plan to return to in-person learning on Dec. 1," Pulvino said. "We want to continue the range of educational opportunities we have provided with respect to our reopening plan. To do that we must remain steadfast and unwavering in our implementation of safety measures in the Fulton City School District."
The temporary move to remote learning comes after a student at G. Ray Bodley High School (GRB) tested positive for the coronavirus. District officials said the student was last in attendance at the school Nov. 13 and became symptomatic on Nov. 15.
Contact tracing, which includes the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms, will include any known close contacts that occurred Nov. 13 or after. In a letter to families, Pulvino said students who are known to have been in close contact would be notified by FCSD staff and the Oswego County Health Department.
Per district policy, FCSD has moved to remote learning while contact tracing occurs. GRB's move to remote learning resulted in the majority of Fulton schools learning virtually, and district officials made the call for all six schools to transition to remote learning.
FCSD officials, in a letter to district families just a day earlier, announced two positive cases of COVID-19 in non-instructional staff at Fulton Junior High and G. Ray Bodley. Students at Fulton Junior High, in a decision announced Thursday, were already expected to learn remotely through Nov. 24.
Fairgrieve Elementary and Lanigan Elementary were also moving to remote learning through Nov. 24.
Pulvino asked for the community's help in stopping the spread of this virus so that students can return to in-person learning. He urged individuals and families to practice all recommended safety precautions, stay home when sick, avoid social gatherings and travel and follow the now well-known practices of wearing a face mask and social distancing.
"Every choice each one of us makes impacts another, or potentially many, people,” the superintendent said. "Together, we will work through this pandemic and come out stronger as a community and school district."
Pulvino said district officials are grateful to have been able to maintain in-person learning for most of the first academic quarter, and called it “a direct reflection” of the school community following health and safety guidelines in accordance with the district's reopening plan, as well as recommendations from local, state and federal health officials.
Data would continue to drive the decision-making process in the district, Pulvino said, noting ensuring the health and safety of each individual is of the utmost importance.
For more information about logging in to remote instruction and picking up school meals, visit the district website at fultoncsd.org.