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Crankshaw: There are encouraging signs

JOHNSTOWN – New Greater Johnstown School District Superintendent William Crankshaw outlined the current COVID-19 situation as it impacts the district for the Board of Education Thursday night.

In his monthly report, he said the district is implementing a hybrid learning model, while taking the pandemic into consideration.

“We recognize the different levels of anxiety among students and parents,” Crankshaw said.

He said the frequency and intensity of learning this school year is a concern. But he said there are some encouraging signs.

“Some people say we’re doing just right,” Crankshaw said.

The superintendent said attendance is a “big effort right now.” He said the Johnstown school district represents a complex community with both “wealth and poverty.” He also said the Johnstown district needs to stop comparing itself to other areas.

Crankshaw said the district continues to be “diligent” in its COVID-19 protocols, and he thanked Facilities Director Dave Woods for his work.

“We’re working on third party agreements for testing,” he said.

To go “fully remote” in the school system may come fairly soon, he told the board.

Board President Christopher Tallon said Gov. Andrew Cuomo is putting the onus on school districts, telling them to make decisions in their own interests.

Crankshaw said for this tier — involving several counties — he said the state has a threshold of 3.5 percent cases per day on a rolling average. He said the state is also using a 50 case or more per 100,000 people for 10 days as another COVID marker.

Another area to look at is attendance, he said. Crankshaw said the district is working with a company, Attendance Works, to keep data.

“Attendance has shown some improvement,” he said.

Daily attendance for the district, he said, is: Pleasant Avenue Elementary School — 93 percent; Warren Street Elementary School — 94 percent; and Johnstown Junior-Senior High School — 90 percent.

On the subject of chronically absent kids, Crankshaw said he is not sure if the situation was better or worse before the pandemic.

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