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School continues despite COVID

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County picked up some new cases of the COVID-19 virus Thursday, and Leona Middle School in the Shadyside Local School District reported a successful school day after a student was found to be positive for the virus Wednesday.

County Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul updated the numbers, with a total of 742 positive cases and 36 patients with active cases who are isolated at home. Sproul said 676 have recovered, and five people remain hospitalized. A total of 25 residents have died while infected with the virus, including nine inmates at the Belmont Correctional Institution west of St. Clairsville.

On Wednesday, 18 people who were close contacts of the infected Leona student were quarantined. Shadyside Superintendent John Haswell said the district was confident in its preparations during the summer months, and students and staff in contact with the infected student were quickly identified and quarantined.

Via text, he said school continued as usual Thursday, after regular daily intensive cleanings. He said about 15 percent of the school’s 215 students have opted for online learning. Haswell said this is a slight increase from the start of the year, but the school’s online curriculum is up to the task.

Shadyside was the second area school to report a case of COVID-19. The K-12 Beallsville Elementary/High School in Monroe County closed and switched to online learning after one of its students tested positive this week.

Sproul reminds the public of the importance of social distancing and other precautions. A second pop-up testing site will be conducted by the Ohio National Guard and available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday across from Bellaire High School and at the same times Oct. 3 at Ohio University Eastern.

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