Tecumseh middle, high school move to virtual for a week; district to require masks for all starting Monday

Tecumseh Local Schools is the second district in Clark County to move to virtual learning temporarily due to the increasing number of coronavirus cases and quarantines.

One other district closed for two days last week and two others changed their mask policy in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus on their campuses.

All middle and high school students in the district will move to virtual learning through Friday, Sept. 17. Those students can move back to in-person learning on Monday, Sept. 20.

“We have reached a high number of students and staff absences at our middle and high school buildings. Currently, there are 20% of our students absent at each building,” said Superintendent Paula Crew.

“Although not all of these absences are documented positive or quarantine cases, we have had a surge of positive and quarantine cases the last several days following the Labor Day weekend. This, combined with the elevated number of staff absences, many due to sick leave, results in the need to transition to virtual learning for a short period of time at our middle and high school level only,” Crew added.

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Crew said CTC and STEM students will continue as normal and transportation will still be provided.

The district reported 34 positive and 68 quarantined cases, according to the school’s COVID-19 dashboard.

“We do have documented spread of COVID-19 at the middle and high school level and there is an elevation in quarantine and positive cases at the elementary level,” Crew said.

Due to the rise, the district will also require masks for all students and staff while indoors, including on the bus, starting Monday, Sept. 13 through Friday, Oct. 1.

“Our goal is the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. Additionally, the ability to educate our students is a top priority. Given the high number of absences this is not possible at this time unless we move to a mask mandate. The quarantine protocols make it difficult to keep students in the school setting unless they are masked, especially with the high number of COVID cases currently,” Crew said.

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The district will reevaluate the data in October regarding masks.

Northeastern Local School Districts also moved some of their schools to virtual for two days this week. Springfield City Schools and Global Impact STEM Academy are the only other two schools to require masks. Clark-Shawnee has a temporary masking requirement through Sept. 17 and closed school for two days last week.

Clark County had 16,484 coronavirus cases and 319 deaths as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Champaign County had 4,061 cases and 61 deaths.

As of Thursday, 63,194 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 44% have been fully vaccinated. In Champaign County, 15,312 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.