Nearly 300 quarantined
By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Both Oxford High School and Oxford Middle School returned to classes Monday, March 22 after over a week of virtual learning spurred by rising COVID-19 cases and quarantines.
There were 39 active student cases across the district Friday, with 25 at the high school and 12 at the middle school, according to Oxford Community Schools’ weekly COVID-19 update. Additionally, 206 OHS students and 63 OMS students were quarantined.
“While our numbers still appear higher than usual, we will see a dramatic drop in active cases over the weekend and our number of quarantined students at both the middle and high schools will also lessen significantly,” the update stated. “For example, we anticipate the OHS quarantine number to drop to 12 students by the start of school on Monday. For that reason, we have decided to move both OHS and OMS back to in-person instruction.”
OHS switched to virtual learning March 11, after district administration learned of “a number of large social gatherings” unrelated to school events occurred the weekend of March 6-7, and a number of individuals with positive cases who attended those events. Cases later spread to the middle school, and OMS switched to remote learning March 17-19. By the middle of last week, total quarantines approached 300, according to a March 16 press release.
“Since last week’s report, we have seen our active student and staff cases and quarantines drop significantly,” said a district update sent to OHS and OMS families on Friday. “It appears the proactive measures to contain the spread over the past 10 days have worked . . . Thank you for your support and please remain diligent with safety protocols. We have seen first-hand over the past couple of weeks how they are still needed to keep this virus from spreading.”
The March 16 press release emphasized the lack of in-school transmission. “Since the beginning of the school year, Oxford Community Schools is aware of two potential in-school transmissions of the coronavirus in the district. The overwhelming majority of cases and spread of the coronavirus have occurred outside of school, but have impacted our operations and ability to offer programs in-person.”