Dryden Central School District goes remote due to COVID-19

Local News

DRYDEN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Due to a spike in COVID-19 cases over Thanksgiving break, Dryden Central School District will be remote learning until Friday, December 3. 

The decision came over the weekend for Superintendent Joshua Bacigalupi when he found out six of his students had tested positive for COVID-19 between Tuesday and Friday over Thanksgiving break. 

“Those cases initiated a quarantine of several of our bus routes which also quarantined several of our transportation staff,” Superintendent Bacigalupi said. 

Without enough bus drivers to get kids to school, plus two additional COVID-19 cases and well over 200 people in quarantine, Superintendent Bacigalupi made the difficult decision to move his students remote for a few days. 

“I didn’t feel with that many students that needed to be quarantined and the health department struggling to keep up with that notification even with our help, I was uncomfortable with the idea that there would be students that showed up today that was possibly missing contact tracing that would need to be quarantined later,” he said.

Quarantines are only placed on people who are in close contact with a positive case and are not fully vaccinated. 

For Dryden Central schools that’s about 50 of their 406 staff members with around 88% fully vaccinated. 

Among students, 70% in grades 6-12 are fully vaccinated. 

Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa said as the vaccination rates rise the number of quarantines will drop.

“So anyone that’s vaccinated we are not quarantining at this point so that certainly plays a role and would limit even further the number of children that would need to be quarantined if they are fully vaccinated,” Kruppa said. 

Kruppa said the county is doing its part to make the vaccine available to everyone five years and up. Second dose clinics for kids ages 5-11 are currently being held at the county’s mass vaccination site at the Ithaca Mall. Once those clinics wrap up in mid-December, Kruppa said the county will evaluate where their numbers are and look to bring the vaccine directly to school districts, including more rural districts like Dryden. 

But for now, the district is doing what it feels is necessary to keep its community safe. 

“We’re gonna continue to really minimize disruptions to learning and to daily life…but at the end of the day we have a responsibility to keep students and staff safe,” Bacigalupi said.

The District is planning to return to in-person learning on Friday, December 3.

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