Without zone designations, districts can focus on other ways to keep students and staff safe

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HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)–Without zone designations, school districts can now focus on other ways to keep students and staff safe without worrying about monthly testing.

Under both yellow and orange microcluster zones, districts had to test 20% of in-person students and faculty. Now, following today’s announcement by the governor, district leaders tell me they no longer have to worry about that.

Since the end of November, Hamburg Central School District has had to perform random tests on a monthly basis. Superintendent Michael Cornell says while they’ve made this work, logistically it’s inconvenient and expensive.

Today’s announcement by Governor Cuomo to lift microcluster restrictions in Western New York is welcomed news, Cornell says, since this means they can go back to how it was at the start of the school year without worrying about testing to remain open.

But, we are still in the middle of a pandemic, which means the district will still be focusing on the importance of keeping everyone safe and following precautions that were already in place.

“It’s going to be a dual focus for a while. We’re going to be making sure children have great learning experiences every day, but at the same time we’re going to make sure people focus on the mitigations strategies. We’re going to be focused like lasers on masking, social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene,” Cornell said.

School districts in Niagara County no longer have to worry about testing either. They also had to test immediately after the state placed the county into the yellow zone.

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