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Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD high school goes fully remote after more than 450 people must quarantine

Officials said those who have tested positive or been in close contact with someone who has should "stay home from all activities, even those outdoors."
Credit: AP
A bottle of hand sanitizer sits on a cart as Des Moines Public Schools custodian Tracy Harris cleans a chair in a classroom at Brubaker Elementary School, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Students and staff at Chisholm Trail High School transitioned to fully remote learning Tuesday after more than 450 people needed to quarantine, district officials said in a letter to families and staff.

Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District Superintendent Jim Chadwell said 458 people were quarantining as "close contacts" after 26 active positive COVID-19 cases were identified among students and staff. 

Thirty-nine of those quarantining are teachers or staff, creating a second problem of staffing on campus, officials said, along with the "primary health concern."

The school plans to reopen in-person learning on Monday, Nov. 16, but officials will continue to monitor the situation and provide an update later this week if an extension of remote learning is necessary. 

All athletics, fine arts and extracurricular activities will be canceled or rescheduled.

Chadwell explained the all-remote decision with a list of reasons in his letter.

"It is important to understand that we are transitioning to an all remote environment for the following reasons: 

  • To minimize further spread among our school community; 
  • To allow for additional deep cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces in all facilities at CTHS; 
  • To reduce ongoing interruptions to the learning environment for students; 
  • To protect the health and safety of all our students, staff, and their families."   

The district will continue to provide students with breakfast and lunch meals with curbside pickup.

"The unfortunate reality is that any one of us could be affected by positive cases of COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic, whether as a positive case or a close contact," Chadwell wrote in the letter. "Our campuses implement proactive protocols to mitigate the spread of the virus, but there are so many factors both within and outside of the school environment that affect the impact in our schools." 

Officials ask that anyone who has tested positive or been in close contact with someone who has "stay home from all activities, even those outdoors and in the community."