Lockport City School District
New York State's Micro-Cluster Strategy
A Message from Superintendent Bradley
November 13, 2020
As you may know, the COVID-19 infection rate is increasing in Western New York. As a result, Governor Cuomo has instituted a new strategy of monitoring and responding to outbreaks of new cases within a limited and definable geographic area, which are called micro-clusters. Our students, faculty, and staff have diligently followed the established health and safety protocols to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. Despite everyone’s best efforts, the rising community spread of the virus could impact our hybrid instructional model.
The Governor’s micro-cluster strategy uses multiple data points (positivity rate, hospitalizations, population density, contact tracing, etc.) to identify a geographic area by region, county, zip code, or a more granular location. Once an area has been identified, the local Department of Health engages in calibrated and focused containment efforts. The containment efforts include designating the micro-cluster zone with a color to indicate the severity of the outbreak. The possible color-coded micro-cluster zones are as follows:
- "Yellow (Precautionary) Zone": Seven day rolling positive test rate average above 3% and 12 or more new cases per 100,000 residents for ten consecutive days.
- "Orange (Warning) Zone": Seven day rolling positive test rate average above 4% and 12 or more new cases per 100,000 residents for ten consecutive days.
- "Red Zone": Seven day rolling positive test rate average above 5% and 12 or more new cases per 100,000 residents for ten consecutive days.
The zones can include specific streets and addresses or could include buildings within the identified zip code. It is possible for a school in one zip code to be designated in a micro-cluster, while a school in a different zip code would not be. The zip code of all schools in the Lockport City School District is 14094. Niagara County is in Geographic Area Tier 2.
If a school building is designated to be in a yellow zone micro-cluster, the school can potentially remain open to in-person instruction. However, it would need to randomly identify and test 20% of in-person students and staff only, each week, until the data points drop below the yellow zone levels. Further guidance from New York State would be expected when an area is categorized as yellow zone. If the school cannot meet these testing requirements, a shift to fully remote instruction may occur. The Lockport City School District will continue to work with the Niagara County Department of Health (NCDOH) to meet the 20% random testing requirements.
The Governor identified some micro-clusters within Western New York this week. Lockport City School District families should begin to prepare to transition to full remote instruction, including plans for child-care, if one or more of our schools is identified as being within a micro-cluster. At this time, Niagara County is not in a yellow zone. Lockport City School District's infection rate is well under 1%, far lower than the regional rate.
Please know it is our goal to maintain in-person instruction as long as cases remain low in Niagara County. We will continue to work closely with the Niagara County Department of Health, and make decisions based on local, regional and state data. Below you will find three links that provide more specific information regarding Governor Cuomo's New York Micro-Cluster Strategy.
Please continue to practice social distancing, wear a face covering, wash your hands frequently, and monitor your health regularly. Thank you for your support and understanding as we continue to manage the pandemic. Stay safe and be well.
New rules and restrictions directly target areas with the highest transmission of COVID-19 cases & surrounding communities.