Orleans County declares state of emergency, all public schools closed

Posted 14 March 2020 at 5:15 pm

Press Release, Orleans County Health Department

Orleans County has declared a state of emergency and all public schools are closed until further notice.

“Over the past week, COVID-19 has evolved rapidly,” said Lynne Johnson, chairwoman of the Orleans County Legislature. “While Orleans County has no confirmed cases, there are confirmed cases in a neighboring county and increasing local testing. I believe it is inevitable we will see cases here in Orleans County. With this in mind and after discussion with Paul Pettit, Director of the Genesee and Orleans County Health Departments, I am declaring a state of emergency for Orleans County. I am recommending that all schools in Orleans County close to students effective immediately for an undetermined amount of time.”

Paul Pettit, Public Health director: “We still want to remind people the risk in our community still remains relatively low and these decisions are based on the need to slow transmission in our communities. Through ongoing discussions with all 5 school districts and county administration, this unified decision is based on the increased activity in our county and has led to these preventive measures.”

The recommendation applies to students, districts can make individual determinations regarding faculty and staff.

“With the announcement of Monroe County schools closing and Kendall and Holley share students with the Monroe County BOCES program, I feel this is a difficult but proactive approach to slow the potential spread of disease,” said Julie Christensen, superintendent of Kendall Central School.

“We understand the potential hardship this can have on our families,” stated Michael Bonnewell, superintendent of Albion Central School, “but are in agreement with this decision.”

“Even though there are no positive cases of COVID-19 in Orleans County we believe taking a proactive approach will help keep our students and their families healthy,” said Mark Kruzynski, superintendent of Medina School District.

“We will continue to work with the Health Department to determine when we can get our students back to school, but want our families to understand that this is a rapidly evolving situation and we are concerned for the safety of our school family,” said Jason Smith, superintendent of Lyndonville School District.

“As a District Superintendent it is our charge to provide safe, quality education for the students of our district,” said Brian Bartalo, superintendent of Holley School District. “We understand this is an unprecedented response to the COVID-19 outbreak and anticipate that these steps will help protect our communities and limit the potential spread of disease.

“With the declaration of a State of Emergency it allows us to procure goods and services as well as required and available assistance to municipalities and school districts vital to the security, well- being, and health and safety of the citizens of Orleans County,” said Dale Banker, director of Emergency Management for Orleans County.

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