For the second time this year Whitehall Elementary School will be closing for in-person instruction from Dec. 14 through Dec. 23 because of a positive case of COVID-19.
While the school only had to close for one day on Sept. 29, this time the school will be going fully remote for a week-and-a-half heading into its Christmas vacation.
The reason for the extended closure is because too many teachers and staff have to quarantine.
“Please know that this was an incredibly difficult decision that was made in consultation with the Washington County Public Health Services,” school superintendent Pat Dee wrote in an update posted to the school’s website.
News of the positive case broke on Dec. 11. Dee said that the individual was last in the elementary school on the morning of Dec. 9.
Be on the lookout for phone calls coming from the Washington County Public Health Department. The caller will be indicated as “Contact Tracer.”
Dee made it clear that this is just one positive case.
“Please understand that there is not a COVID outbreak in the district,” he wrote. “This is not a closure of school, but a temporary shift in the instructional model.”
Students will still be expected to log in or follow the plans laid out by their teachers.
Dee stressed the importance of taking COVID-19 seriously in his update.
“Please remember that our community must continue to work together to ensure overall public health. Following guidelines regarding masks, social gatherings and social distancing is important both inside and outside of school buildings,” he said.
Any additional questions regarding this or testing procedures should be directed to Washington County Public Health Services at 518-746-2400.
While this is certainly not the way parents and students wanted to finish 2020, Dee encouraged everyone to stay resilient.
“I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience as we are so close to the holidays,” he said. “I am, however, encouraged by the fact that the Whitehall community is strong and will do what is necessary to maintain the safety of our community.”