Two individuals at different elementary schools in the Lockport district tested positive for COVID-19 this week, according to district Superintendent Michelle Bradley and the Niagara County health department.
No specifics on the individuals were released, so it's not known whether the individuals who tested positive are students or staff members.
In a letter to parents of students at Anna Merritt and Charles Upson elementary schools, Bradley said the district was notified of the positive test results on Wednesday.
Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton confirmed the findings Thursday. He said the individuals are quarantined at home, as are any students or staff members who came in contact with them.
“I can't comment on individual cases of Covid, but I can confirm there are two cases,” Stapleton said. “Everyone who tests positive is isolated to their home and anyone who comes into close contact with them or was in proximate contact also needs to be quarantined as well.”
Bradley said letters confirming the two cases were issued by the health department on Wednesday.
The first letter, announcing the positive case at Anna Merritt, states, “there was no exposure to students or staff at Anna Merritt Elementary School based on the symptom onset date and time. It was reported to the district that the case was outside of the exposure window for students and staff.”
The letter sent to parents of Upson students stated the same set of circumstances.
Both schools will remain open as scheduled, officials said, adding that areas of the buildings used by the infected individuals have been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
Andrea Kelly of Green Street, the mother of 9-year-old Merritt student Wyatt Brown, said she's confident the district has done all it can to keep students safe.
“The news of the positive test doesn't really bother me,” she said on Thursday, as she greeted her son home from school. “We're taking all the precautions we need to and I feel Wyatt's safe, for sure.”
It hasn't take long for the district to put key elements of its comprehensive school reopening plan to work, in the wake of the global pandemic that forced schools to close in March throughout New York state. Specific 2020-2021 COVID-related protocols were established in the event that the disease did strike and those wheels are now in motion.
One of the most important concerns on everyone's minds presently is whether these isolated cases on opposite ends of the city will lead to more. These cases are the first ones reported in the district since the school year opened on Sept. 8.
Bradley urged everyone to continue to comply with established health and safety protocols such as social distancing, face covering, washing hands frequently and monitoring for symptoms.
Officials went further on Thursday, asking that everyone “respect the privacy of any individual in our learning community who tests positive for the virus.”
Follow reporter John D’Onofrio on Twitter with “Good Morning, Lockport, N.Y.,” weekday mornings at @LockportJournal.