Oswego County schools to close out of 'abundance of caution' for coronavirus

Oswego High School, seen above, will join all other schools in Oswego County in closing for the next month due to coronavirus danger.

OSWEGO — Oswego County’s nine school districts have been adjourned for the next month out of what officials call “an abundance of caution.”

Joining neighboring counties of Cayuga, Jefferson and Lewis, as well as a slew of others statewide, Oswego County’s public schools were ordered closed Sunday afternoon as part of a declaration of a state of emergency.

County Legislature Chairman James Weatherup made the call, according to a statement from county officials.

“There is currently no confirmed case of COVID-19 in Oswego County,” Weatherup, R-Hastings, said. “Because both travel-related cases and community contact transmission has occurred within New York state, Oswego County is being proactive in addressing the threat that COVID-19 poses to the health and welfare of its citizens.”

The state of emergency began at 12:30 p.m. Sunday pursuant to state executive law, and will continue until Tuesday, April 14. That is the earliest date schools could re-open, Weatherup said, and the order includes all school extra-curricular activities. Section III athletics officials have also moved the start date for all spring sports to April 14.

Oswego City School District Board of Education President Heather DelConte said the coronavirus threat was a sign of “unprecedented times that are testing our resolve as a community.”

“Things are changing at a very rapid pace and the school district has to respond in the best interest of student health and safety,” DelConte told The Palladium-Times Sunday. “We are dedicated to keeping people informed in real-time and we are constantly updating our website with COVID-19 information as it becomes available.”

Oswego County Public Health Director Jiancheng Huang said the area needs to “be ready before the disease comes.”

“As the lead agency in the local prevention and control of COVID-19, the Oswego County Health Department is working closely with New York State Department of Health, local response agencies, health care providers, schools and other key partners to monitor the disease activities and implement preventative measures,” said Huang.

For more information, visit the Oswego County Health Department at health.oswegocounty.com/covid-19. Additional questions can be directed to the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065 or the Oswego County Health Department COVID-19 hotline at 315-349-3330.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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