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Allegany Hope: New Data on Covid-19 in Schools

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By Casey Jones, Editor of Allegany Hope Community News, 10/21/21

BREAKING – EXCLUSIVE: There have been nearly one-third more COVID-19 infections among Allegany County school students than what has been reported previously since the start of the school year.

The data has been revealed through entirely new information provided by the Allegany County Department of Health as the result of an Allegany Hope Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request which also is confirming sometimes significant differences in public reporting mechanisms and results.

Our analysis to date shows 122 positives this school year among children, as of last Friday, compared with 92 which showed on the online state Report Card of coronavirus activity in the county for the same day.

The review also shows at least twice the number of confirmed cases among teachers, along with three positives total among visitors or volunteers at two public schools, a category not previously known to the public.

The most significant variations occur with:

– Teachers and other staff members being counted in their county of residence, which often differs from state Report Card numbers which assign them to their employment sites.

– School districts outside the county, but having part of their geographic boundaries within Allegany County, resulting in 10 additional student positives, along with three teachers and two other staff members appearing on county-provided lists.

– Two visitors/volunteers at Bolivar-Richburg Central School District and one at Fillmore Central School now appearing as positives.

– An additional seven Genesee Valley Central School students, two teachers and one staff member testing positive, apparently prior to September 13, the first day the state Report Card was activated due to an updating project.

– An additional five students and one teacher being listed as confirmed cases at Bolivar-Richburg Central School District, in addition to the visitors/volunteers. This difference may be due to district interpretation of state reporting requirements, as noted in an accompanying story on our main page.

– An additional nine students and four teachers being listed on the county-provided rolls as positives at Andover Central School District. The district didn’t start posting to the state Report Card until two weeks ago, although it has been providing several community notices on its Facebook page as to student positives since the beginning of last month.

– Some county-provided numbers, for undetermined reasons, being less than that reported on the state Report Card.

– Data from COVID-19 testing entities, shown on the state Report Card, varying from district numbers due to recording of only ages five through 17 and some not attending school in the districts.

– New data being available in regard to positives at the Alfred Montessori school, Friendship Head Start, and Houghton Academy, apparently the first cases at the latter site since the start of the pandemic.

The comparative data, shown on the chart accompanying this story (click on the graphic and the use the “+” icon to enlarge the numbers) provides the most comprehensive picture of school COVID-19 cases to date in Allegany County, but information still is difficult to correlate.

An overview as to challenges in obtaining concrete numbers appears in an accompanying story on our main Allegany Hope Facebook page.

The state online schools Report Card, which is updated every Tuesday through Saturday, effective as of the afternoon of the preceding day, is available at https://on.ny.gov/3ieQJkx.
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