BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Elmwood Franklin School is closed Thursday and Friday due to rising cases of Covid-19 throughout the school.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to be flexible and take care of ourselves and our community,” Director of Communications Rebecca Murak told News 4. “That’s exactly what we’re doing right now. The well-being of our community has been and will continue to be our top priority.”

In a letter to parents, Head of School Dr. Ryan Kimmet said he anticipated 26 teachers and staff members would be out this week either isolating due to COVID, out sick with symptoms, or in Washington D.C. on a class trip, leaving the school “with a staffing shortage we cannot safely cover.”

“Our priority is for staff and students to rest and recover, so we will not be offering distance learning,” the letter said. “This is a very difficult decision for us to make; however, we have exhausted all available substitute and in-house coverage options with more and more staff and students presenting with symptoms throughout the day. We hope this brief pause will help slow the spread of COVID in the building and allow those sick the opportunity to get better before returning to campus.”

Kimmet said students and staff in Washington are feeling well and will return Friday night as scheduled.

Covid-19 cases are spiking once again in Erie County following a brief lull in March. The Department of Health reported 953 new cases Wednesday, with a 7-day average of 522 new cases per 100,000 residents, not counting at-home tests. Upstate New York is one of the biggest hotspots in the country, according to the CDC, and Erie County has been designated “high risk” since late April.

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Nick Veronica is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a Digital Executive Producer in 2021. He previously worked at NBC Sports and The Buffalo News. You can follow Nick on Facebook and Twitter and find more of his work here.