Olean City School District reports two positive cases of COVID-19; begins week with remote learning

photo: Molly Williams/The Intrepid

By Nic Gelyon

OLEAN, NY — Saturday morning, the Olean City School District released a statement on its website announcing that a student had tested positive for Coronavirus at Olean High School.

The district also sent robocalls to parents, confirmed by multiple accounts on Facebook. 

In the district’s initial statement, OCSD told parents to “make preparations to move to remote learning should events require the district to close schools.” 

The district also canceled this past weekend’s after-school activities. 

Sunday afternoon, it was announced that the district had been notified of another positive COVID-19 case. This time, the person infected was a district faculty member. 

Both cases were confirmed positive, meaning that they had come back positive after going through CDC laboratories. 

The district then announced it would switch to full virtual learning for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

According to Cattaraugus County public health director Dr. Kevin Watkins, this was to further accommodate the district’s cleaning process. 

“They have hired a cleaning crew that came out on Saturday and Sunday, and have been paying close attention to the rules in which the positives have been exhibited,” Watkins said, referring to the district. “We have also talked about them airing out the facility.”  

According to Watkins, the district has had a high level of communication with the county health department over the weekend. He said the district was especially helpful in having all information that the health department requested from them, which allowed contact tracing to happen in a timely matter.

However, Watkins does believe that there is a “high likelihood” of additional positive cases arising within the district. 

“You’ve had a case at two particular schools, there have been direct contact with individuals of those schools,” he said. 

The health department believes that its contact tracing process will be completed Monday night. Watkins did acknowledge that one case required more extensive contact tracing than the other.  

The county is still trying to get in touch with seven people to complete this process. If these individuals do not respond to the county’s requests, the health department may visit their homes. 

Should contact tracing be successful, and should no other issues arise, in-person activity should return to OCSD on Thursday. 

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