The Bellwood-Antis School District closed its middle and high schools at 3 p.m. Monday as the schools reached their COVID-19 case thresholds.
Students will learn virtually Tuesday and Wednesday and are scheduled to return to full time, in-person instruction Thursday.
Superintendent Thomas McInroy declined to say how many cases were confirmed in the district, but according to high school Principal Richard Schreier, the buildings’ threshold is two to four cases.
During the two-day closure, the impacted buildings will be “deep cleaned,” according to McInroy, and contact tracing will be completed for infected individuals.
All extracurricular activities are canceled during the closure.
McInroy is “very confident” that students will be able to return Thursday as planned. “This is nothing new,” McInroy said. “We know the processes that work and I’m 100% confident we’ll open up Thursday.” He said the district is following guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and he said the district has been in “constant communication” with the CDC.
With less than three weeks remaining in the school year, McInroy said it’s important for the community to be diligent in taking necessary precautions so that seniors can participate in prom and commencement.
“I want (students) to have prom and I want them to have commencement, their track and baseball,” McInroy said. “So we ask parents for their help and cooperation in keeping their children home if they have been sent home by the school for quarantine because we want all kids to participate in those events that make school fun.” He said both prom and commencement will go on as scheduled “unless something major happens between now and then.”
When community members are uncooperative, McInroy said, it puts everyone in danger.
“When people don’t listen, they not only put their child at risk but others at risk as well and it makes it harder for us to keep our events open and going,” he said.
According to McInroy, the community has been hit hard by the virus. He said it needs to be taken more seriously.
“We have enough people here who have been sick with it,” he said. “Some have been very sick. Why gamble with children’s health, safety and welfare? I, personally, am not willing to gamble with children’s health.”
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