Norwin High School was closed Thursday and Friday because of of a spike in positive covid cases during what was to be the first full week of in-person instruction this school year and will not reopen until April 6 because of the scheduled spring break.
Superintendent Jeff Taylor announced on Wednesday that there were seven positive cases of covid at the high school for people who were in school and infectious during the previous the past 14 days. After a discussion the state Department of Health officials, the administration was directed to close the high school, Taylor said. Because Monday is an in-service day for teachers, there will not be any school next week and classes will not resume until April 6.
The school district said it learned that eight high school students and three high school staff members were infected with the coronavirus, said Heather Newell, Norwin’s pandemic coordinator. Six middle school students, two Hillcrest Intermediate students and two Sheridan Terrance Elementary staff members reported being infected with coronavirus. A Norwin Online Academy student, who receives remote instruction, also reported having covid.
High school students had the option of getting five-day-a-week, in-person instruction as of March 22. For most of the school year, the high school students were being taught in a hybrid manner — two days in class and three days of virtual learning, with five-day-week online learning through the Norwin Online Academy. Only seniors were given the option of getting in-person instruction four days a week, beginning Feb. 22.
Newell stated in an email to Norwin families that it is “in the best interest of everyone” that students and staff who are sick or symptomatic, to remain at home.
Both the Norwin School District, parents and community members believe that remaining in a five-day in-person instructional model is important for students, Newell said.
Several high school students during a school board virtual meeting on March 15 criticized the administration’s decision to give all high school students the option of returning to the building five days a week. Students complained that social distancing was not possible, particularly during lunch, and not all students were wearing their mask as required.
Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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