Northeastern goes virtual for 2 days; Global Impact STEM Academy to require masks

Global Impact STEM Academy now requires masks for students, staff and visitors. Here, Middle School Art Instructor, Ms. Angela Detwiller, connected with her students remotely from her classroom last year. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Global Impact STEM Academy now requires masks for students, staff and visitors. Here, Middle School Art Instructor, Ms. Angela Detwiller, connected with her students remotely from her classroom last year. CONTRIBUTED

Northeastern Local School District will move to virtual learning for two days and Global Impact STEM Academy will require masks due to the rise in coronavirus cases and quarantines.

Northeastern announced Wednesday it is moving several schools to virtual for two days due to the increase in positive cases and quarantines.

Northeastern Middle and High School and Northridge Elementary and Middle School students will use virtual learning today and Friday.

“The Northeastern Local School District is committed to the safety and health of our students and staff,” said Superintendent John Kronour. “This decision was reached in consultation with the Clark County Combined Health District’s Health Commissioner Charles Patterson.”

The district reported 34 positive and 241 quarantined cases, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard.

GISA announced it will require masks for all students, staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status.

“The number of students being quarantined continues to rise and we now have evidence of spread in the school. This is unsustainable if we are to continue in-person learning,” said Founding Director Joshua Jennings.

The universal masking requirement started Tuesday. According to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are seven confirmed and 50 quarantined cases reported.

Northeastern and GISA follow quarantine guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health and Clark County Combined Health District. Under the guidelines, if someone is exposed and they are vaccinated or if they are unvaccinated but wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate social distancing, they can remain in class and participate in activities and sports as long as they are symptom free.

ExploreCoronavirus: Pilot program aimed at reducing number of quarantines could impact Clark, Champaign schools

These guidelines are only possible if there is masking for students and staff, regardless of vaccination status; strategies to maximize physical distancing of at least three feet; and documented COVID-19 prevention policies and procedures are in place.

“Based upon these guidelines, universal masking will drastically reduce the number of students that will have to miss school due to quarantining,” Jennings said.

Springfield City Schools is the only other local district to require masks for students. Clark-Shawnee also implemented a temporary masking requirement through Sept. 17 and closed schools for two days last week.

Springfield reported the highest number of positive cases and Clark-Shawnee reported the highest quarantined cases for last week.

“We continue to work closely with all the local schools to provide the safest in-person learning environment possible for all students,” said Nate Smith, Communications Coordinator for the Clark County Combined Health District. “The issue of masks in schools is being decided on a district-by-district basis and we are working with superintendents and school boards to assess each specific situation.”

The Champaign Health District is also leaving it to districts on masks decisions.

“At this point we are not requiring it of our schools. That would be in consultation with the superintendents as well as the state. Right now we are asking all parents and guardians, if possible, to have their children go to school with a mask to reduce spread,” said Health Commissioner Gabe Jones.

ExploreDistricts report nearly 80 new student COVID cases in Clark, Champaign counties

Clark County had 16,397 coronavirus cases and 319 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Champaign County had 4,032 cases and 61 deaths.

As of Wednesday, 63,113 vaccination shots have been given in Clark County, according to ODH. Just over 47% of the county’s total population has received at least one shot and almost 45% have been fully vaccinated. In Champaign County, 15,297 vaccination shots have been given. Almost 40% of the county’s total population has received at least one shot and just over 36% has been fully vaccinated.


COVID-19 cases, quarantines in schools in Clark and Champaign counties

Clark-Shawnee: 48 positive, 335 quarantined

Mechanicsburg: 13 positive

Northeastern: 34 positive, 241 quarantined

Southeastern: 10 positive, 48 quarantined

Springfield: 73 positive, 39 quarantined

Tecumseh: 34 positive, 68 quarantined

Triad: 1 positive

Souce: Clark and Champaign counties’ school dashboard as of Aug. 30.