Note: The headline has been adjusted to reflect the district’s announcement it will return to in-person learning sooner than originally reported.

SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Salamanca City Central School District will transition to remote learning after new positive COVID-19 cases have been confirmed.

Originally, according to the district’s website, schools planned to transition to remote instruction through Monday, Jan. 3.

As of Monday, they announced they’ll be returning in-person Thursday, December 16.

They adjusted their plan after learning through contact tracing that 20% less people were impacted than they thought.

They originally estimated 78 people were either positive or needed to quarantine and that number is down to 63.

Superintendent Robert Breidenstein said the number is lower due discovering some students were absent or on field trips and were not near people they normally would have been.

He said the outbreak came out of nowhere and as of Tuesday of last week there were only 20 people who were positive or quarantined.

He said by Friday afternoon that number increased four-fold.

The outbreak is impacting all three buildings and all campuses.

Breidenstein is asking students and staff not to come to school if they’re sick.

“For the first time we’ve seen evidence of in school transmission that we haven’t seen in the last 22 months and that’s directly attributable to individuals, whether they’re students or staff, coming to school with mild symptoms thinking it’s a common cold or a sinus infection or an ear ache when its actually a variation of the COVID virus,” he said.

He said he doesn’t believe vaccination level is playing a factor, and said that’s a different conversation entirely.

During the remote learning period, all out-of-district special education and CTE students will be transported as usual.

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.

Kayla Green is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.