Most ‘close contacts’ in schools aren’t catching Covid, according to superintendents

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BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) Teachers, staff and students have spent more than two months under a ‘mask mandate’ and while there have been some cases of Covid, the head of an association representing many school superintendents wouldn’t consider Covid to be ‘spreading in schools’.

“The public should have every confidence that school staff are doing everything they can to make sure schools are safe and in fact they are,” said Michael Cornell, who is not only the superintendent of Hamburg Central Schools, but is president of the Erie-Niagara School Superintendents Association.

He takes issue with some of the comments yesterday from the Erie County Health Commissioner who says Covid is spreading in schools partly because of mask breaks, lunch periods and buses.

“We’re received, even this morning, reports about school buses where kids are not sitting in their assigned seats, their masks are off, they’re running all over the place,” said Dr. Gale Burstein on Monday. “I mean it’s really difficult to supervise what’s going on with a bus because there’s only one bus driver and that person’s eyes are forward, not backwards.”

Cornell says that’s not an accurate reflection of what’s happening in most schools on most days. “To call out something that is very clearly the exception to the normal and trying to represent that as something other than the exception doesn’t paint an accurate picture of what happens in schools every day.”

In fact, Cornell says they looked at the numbers from 30 schools across Erie and Niagara Counties, and found that in the first 6 weeks of school, of the 2,500 students who needed to be quarantined for coming in contact with someone who tested positive , only 30 of them actually caught Covid from the close contact.” said Cornell.

Cornell also believes that at least 90 percent of what are considered to be ‘school cases’ were actually contracted outside of school, but were discovered in the school setting.

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