JAMESTOWN – A new statistic added to New York State’s school COVID-19 report card could lead to confusion among parents, students and even school officials.
On Friday morning, Jamestown Public School’s report card indicated seven school-aged children have tested positive from COVID-19, although school officials indicate the cases are not confirmed by the district, or the county. The distirct only learned of the change in the state dashboard based on an inquiry from WNYNewsNow.
The Total Students Testing Positive (On/Off Site) includes all health department confirmed cases reported to date, including the two off-site students previously reported by the district to the community on September 16.
JPS staff says new Lab Reported Positives based on Residential Address number may not reflect how many local students test positive, nor does would it necessarily represent positive results that have been made known to several school districts, including Jamestown Public Schools.
Jessie Joy, the Chief Information Officer for the Jamestown Public School District, tells us that districts face problems because the state dashboard continues to change.
“One of the challenges school districts have had with the report card is the information we have to provide has changed several times in the past few weeks,” Joy said. “The format has also changed. It is a challenge for us to keep up with the information we need to provide and has been reported back.”
Chautauqua County Public Health Director Christine Schuyler says there seem to be several issues with the dashboard, including how it started.
“The school report dashboard was put into place very quickly and neither school nor county health officials had any input,” Schuyler said. “We’re finding it is very complicated and the schools have been confused.”
Schuyler says she is concerned about the way the dashboard is working.
“I’m concerned about the confusion that this new reporting system is causing for school districts, parents and the community as a whole,” she said. “I’m sorry it was implemented the way it was implemented.”
The state, just days ago, changed its reporting requirements to have county health officials validate school numbers before they are reported to the dashboard, and moved the reporting deadline from 3 p.m. daily to 4 p.m., daily, Schuyler said.
According to the state’s School COVID-19 Report Card, a teacher or staff member of Bemus Point School District has tested positive for the virus.
Bemus Point School Superintendent Joe Reyda explains that the current listing for his district is not up to date.
“The info that is currently there is not the most accurate information and we have been submitting this information on a daily basis as we’ve been asked to do,” Reyda said.
Schuyler believes the confusion by referring to actual school numbers. She says there were no new positive reports in any of the county’s public schools, which is not clear from visiting the dashboard.
Bemus Point had one staff member who fully recovered, Dunkirk had two remote pupils, Jamestown reported four students, all remote and all recovered, and Cassadaga Valley had remote student, also fully recovered, she said.
The report card lists the positive case report as of Thursday as the report tends to run one day behind the calendar. Reports are made by 3 p.m. daily, and appear on the dashboard the next day.
Schuyler noted there are differences between issuing orders and issuing regulations.
“In spite of numerous mandates that have come down continuously from the state without any advanced knowledge,” Schuyler remains proud of her and her staff’s efforts to deal with the virus.
WNY News Now’s Justin Gould and Rory Pollaro contributed to this report.