EducationHealthThe Putnam Examiner

Rise in COVID Cases Forces Carmel High to Go Remote

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A recent uptick in positive COVID-19 cases has forced Carmel High School to switch to remote learning for the rest of this year.

Remote learning began Friday and will continue through December 23. District officials are planning to bring high school students back into the classroom on Monday, Jan. 3 after the holiday break.

“Over the last week, Carmel High School has seen a sizeable increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in our local community and subsequently among students and staff at Carmel High School,” Superintendent of Schools Mary-Margaret Zehr and Carmel High School Principal Lauren Santabarbara stated in a joint letter to parents and students.

“We have been working diligently with the Putnam County Department of Health to complete contact tracing and directly contact all individuals who may be impacted by these positive cases,” they continued. “We have worked hard to do all that we can to keep our schools open and safe for our students and staff. However, increases in positive cases among students and staff, close contact quarantines, and staffing shortages have become a challenge at Carmel High School this week.”

Reportedly, between Dec. 2 and Dec. 15, 81 individuals in the district have tested positive for COVID-19 — 57 in the last week. Since September, there have been 167 positive cases. Of those, 54 were high school students, along with two teachers and two staff personnel.

“We recognize that time in the classroom is important for student learning, but the safety of our students, staff and community is also a top priority,” Zehr and Santabarbara stated. “Our teachers and staff will continue to work hard to ensure that the remote learning environment will still provide our high school students with the quality education you expect from our district.”

Zehr and Santabarbara stated no other school building was experiencing the same level of COVID-19 cases as the high school. All athletics will continue in person, but spectators were urged to watch the games by live streams.

“We ask our entire district community to remain vigilant, self-quarantine if exposed, and consult a medical professional for advice when needed,” the administrators stated.

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