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4 COVID-19 cases slow school opening

4 COVID-19 cases slow school opening
4 COVID-19 cases slow school opening
Students sit in Aafke Garlock’s English classroom on the fifth day of the 2020-21 school year. A timer for their exercise runs in the background. Photo by Joey Bowling
Joey Bowling, Intern, [email protected]

Three days into the 2020-21 school year, Lanesville Community School Corp. had its first confirmed COVID-19 case.

Since that case was reported Friday, three additional positive cases, with all four isolated to the senior class, were confirmed Saturday, according to Steve Morris, superintendent of the school district.

The building was deep cleaned over the weekend, and students had classes virtually Monday. They returned to school yesterday (Tuesday).

“No one wanted the school year to start this way,” Morris said.

The school looks distinctly different, with masks on nearly every face and seating charts enforced.

Despite the changes, much is still the same. Children still have recess and gym can still cause dread for those less athletically-inclined. Some changes may even welcomed: If students and their teacher want a break from the masks, the teacher can have class outside.

The student who was the first reported case didn’t come to school with symptoms.

Morris said he is grateful for the trust parents have with the school, letting them know about the case before the health department even got a positive test result.

About 50 students, a seventh of Lanesville Junior-Senior High School’s enrollment, and one teacher are in isolation for 14 days. Morris said they are isolating because they are established contacts of the infected individuals, having spent more than 15 minutes with them with less than six feet of social distancing.

The isolation time starts from when the contacts were first notified, so they should be able to return to school Aug. 17. Receiving a negative test result doesn’t affect isolation.

The first group of students to be exposed were notified of the positive test result before the end of school Friday and were picked up, Morris said. The second group attended school Wednesday through Friday and were notified on Saturday.

All of the cases are from the same social group. Morris said he doesn’t believe gathering within the school to be the cause of the cases, but that the majority of the contact happened before school started last Wednesday.

Morris said this batch of cases created more nervousness around students who either are immunocompromised or have family who are. He said about 15 junior-senior high students switched to completely virtual classes, increasing the number from about 23 to 38.