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Monroe Central set to reopen Monday

WOODSFIELD — Monroe Central High School is slated to reopen Monday after being closed last week due to cases of COVID-19.

Cyndi Brill, associate superintendent of Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, said the high school likely will resume in-person classes Monday.

“The plan is to have students return on Monday. We’re working really closely with the (Monroe County) health department to monitor if there are any spikes (in COVID-19 cases),” she said Friday.

Brill said the final decision on whether the school will reopen would be made Saturday evening.

“But currently it looks like we’re a go for Monday,” she said. “We haven’t seen the spikes. We just wanted to see what would happen at the end of the week, but right now everyone is staying healthy.”

The building closed at the end of the academic day Monday after school officials were notified of two positive cases and multiple contacts who needed to quarantine.

“It’s always a hard decision to decide what has to be done when we shut down, or if we don’t shut down. Instead of going the full two weeks like the quarantine was for a lot of students we thought we’d see if we had identified all the folks we needed to quarantine, monitor it and see what happens this weekend and then make a decision if we were going to shut down the following week,” she said.

As of Friday, the situation appeared to be under control and all those close contacts of the infected individuals had been identified and informed.

Brill said since the school temporarily closed it has undergone a deep and thorough cleaning process to ensure a safe return for students and staff.

“It takes about three days to do that properly,” she said.

In the meantime, students have been conducting their school work remotely.

Brill said the school has been and will continue to work closely with the county health department to monitor the situation.

The school’s extra-curricular activities, including its volleyball, soccer and football teams, have been given the green light and will continue.

“We were able to identify that we didn’t have any of those positive students on those teams,” she said. “We felt we were in a safe position to allow sports to go on at this point.”

Monroe Central’s closing was the district’s second since schools reopened for the school year due to COVID-19. In late September, Beallsville Elementary/High School was temporarily closed due to a teacher testing positive for the virus. Due to the positive case, most of the school’s faculty and staff were added to a quarantine list because of close contact with the positive individual, Brill said. That school was reopened Oct. 5.

In other district news, Britt said the River Campus, including the elementary and high schools, was closed Friday due to lack of power in the schools. That closure was unrelated to COVID-19.

“It was not because of COVID-19, it was because we didn’t have any power or water,” she said. “It was not associated with COVID-19.”

River Elementary and River High School classes also are expected to resume Monday.

In a similar matter, St. Clairsville High School in Belmont County reopened Friday to resume in-person attendance after a student tested positive for the new coronavirus earlier in the week. The high school was closed Thursday for contact tracing, and 29 people associated with the case are in quarantine.

Belmont County also had some good news regarding COVID-19. While new cases have been climbing this week, Friday also saw a spike in recoveries with total active cases of infection and under quarantine listed at 45 compared to 69 on Thursday. Two of the seven people who were hospitalized have also recovered.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 792 cases in Belmont County, with 717 recoveries. There are now five people hospitalized and 25 residents who have died after contracting the virus, including nine inmates at Belmont Correctional Institution.

In Monroe County, coronavirus.ohio.gov on Friday listed 129 cases since the pandemic arrived with 18 deaths and 94 patients presumed recovered, leaving 17 patients with active cases.

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