ITHACA, N.Y.—Boynton Middle School became the first local school to run into enough COVID-19 complications that it was forced to transition to a remote-only learning day, the Ithaca City School District announced on Thursday.

As a result of a positive COVID-19 test by a student, full distance learning was implemented for Friday, Sept. 17, “out of an abundance of caution.” The district’s announcement states that they will communicate a return to in-person learning once the contact tracing process finishes.

“We are collaborating with TCHD to aid them in contact tracing efforts, and need time to do so,” said the announcement, signed by Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown. “This involves interviewing potentially affected individuals.”

This is the first publicly announced positive test impacting ICSD since it returned to classes earlier this month, which are largely in-person for the 2021-2022 school year after a 2020-2021 school year that emphasized a hybrid learning model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic’s other effects have been visible since students returned, but Boynton is the first Ithaca school to be forced to empty classrooms for at least a day this school year—though this was a very common situation last year.

While New York State used to maintain a fairly reliable COVID-19 database, or “report card,” for school districts statewide, that tool has not been available since the 2021 school year began. Instead, the site’s previous location states only that the webpage is being updated and will be available.

Matt Butler is the Editor in Chief of The Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at