Olean High School

Olean High School.

OLEAN — The Olean City School District will move to a virtual learning model Friday due to COVID-19.

In an announcement posted on the district’s website Thursday morning, Interim Superintendent Dr. Karen Geelan announced the school would move to remote learning through at least Tuesday.

“After careful consideration, we have determined that it is time for us to switch to remote instruction briefly to slow the spread in our school community and allow our students in isolation/quarantine to fully participate in learning,” she said.

The district planned to make final preparations Thursday and switch to remote instruction Friday and Tuesday, Geelan said. Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and school was already scheduled to be closed.

“We understand the inconvenience on families, and we hope you understand that we are making this decision out of necessity and for health and safety reasons,” she said.

Geelan said the district is operating according to the guidelines and requirements given through the New York State Education Department and the Cattaraugus Department of Health as an outreach of the New York State Department of Health.

“Whether staff are absent for COVID-positive test results, the flu or a cold, we have numerous positions that are going unfilled,” she said. “The matter is illness more than what illness our staff and students have, which is why we are utilizing a very brief switch to remote learning while everyone gets healthy again.”

District officials plan to reassess conditions Tuesday and announce by noon whether they will be able to return to fully in-person instruction on Wednesday or extend the remote period to Monday, Jan. 24, Geelan said.

According to Geelan, the county Department of Health Director Dr. Kevin D. Watkins stated if the county is to follow the trend occurring in others across the state, then local residents should soon see a plateau and then a decrease in positive COVID cases.

“By going remote for two days adjacent to the long weekend, we will have five days for recovery,” she added. “Hopefully, that will be enough, but if we need to remain remote for the rest of the week we will.”

Meanwhile, BOCES CTE, New Visions, out-of-district classes and athletics will continue as scheduled, Geelan said. Principals will send families details regarding meal distribution and instructional schedules during the remote period.

(Contact editor/reporter Kellen Quigley at kquigley@oleantimesherald.com.)

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