DRYDEN, N.Y.—After closing for a day in reaction to a positive coronavirus test, the Dryden Central School District will resume its in-person learning on Thursday, Oct. 15 at Dryden Middle School and Dryden High School. It’s the first positive test among the district community so far as the district continues its reopening.

The district was notified of the positive test on Saturday by the Tompkins County Health Department and began sending out robocalls and emails to parents and families relaying the information to them and describing the next steps, which included keeping kids out of classrooms on Tuesday, Oct. 13, opting for virtual learning that day—Monday was a scheduled off day for Indigenous People’s Day.

Dryden Central School District Superintendent Joshua Baciagalupi said that Wednesday will be a fully virtual day for students, though online learning in the middle of the week is part of the district’s hybrid reopening plan and not a result of the positive test. The next day, Thursday, the district anticipates a full return to classrooms for students.

In total, Baciagalupi said 44 people were ordered into quarantine by the Tompkins County Health Department after a contact investigation, including 35 students and 9 staff members. They are to remain quarantined until Oct. 21, which would be two full weeks after the last time the person who tested positive was in the school building in-person.

“We made the decision, based on the number of staff members that we had out, to have the middle school work remotely [Tuesday], while we tried to cover staffing for the future,” Baciagalupi said. “Our middle school and high school is a shared facility, and so in an abundance of caution we did sanitization of our entire building today and as a result, our high school students were also 100 percent remote [Tuesday].”

All quarantined persons and must be tested before they return.

Not much is known about the person who tested positive besides being part of the middle school community –– Baciagalupi would not specify whether it was a student or teacher, citing medical privacy laws. The district’s three elementary schools were not impacted.

There isn’t a certain threshold that Baciagalupi is watching for that would prevent a return on Thursday, and any theoretical decision to keep students home longer would be made in conjunction with the health department.

“At this time, we will open for in-person instruction on Thursday,” he said.

Baciagalupi encouraged those with questions or concerns to call the district office, which remains open.

“If people have questions, they should call us,” he said. “We’re not hiding anything.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com