Education, Healthcare, Latest News

Mason Dixon Elementary on remote for the next two weeks due to COVID

MORGANTOWN — Three students at Mason Dixon Elementary have tested positive for the coronavirus, putting their school on remote learning for the rest of this week and next, the district announced.

Eddie Campbell Jr., Monongalia County’s superintendent of schools, said families of the three, who are in different grades at the school in Blacksville, learned of their diagnoses over the weekend.

Contact tracing showed the trio likely encountered the virus at a birthday party, held outside of school, Campbell said.

Mason Dixon is one of Mon’s smallest schools, said Campbell, who wasn’t sure of the exact enrollment.  

In pre-pandemic days, the state Department of Education listed the student body at a little more than 300, in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

The school’s most recent cases have also resulted in the additional quarantining of 58 students and eight other staffers as a precaution.

“Precaution,” is the watchword, the superintendent said.

“We can’t control what goes on outside in the community, but we can definitely be on top of what happens in our buildings,” he said.

“And no one else in the school has come down with it.”

The district, the superintendent said, had already dispatched its specially designated COVID cleaning crew to the building, which is just past Clay-Battelle Middle/High School on W.Va. 7.

Mason Dixon students are expected to resume their blended-learning schedule Feb. 22, which is a Monday.

“This is something we can do to keep kids and families safe,” Campbell said. “Our quarantining period is 14 days, and with multiple grades affected at a small school, this seemed to be the most prudent.”

That’s because the pandemic is still a presence, he said.

Last week, eight additional students and a staffer tested positive in schools across the county, the district said, with 30 more students and three additional employees going into quarantine.

On the other end of the equation, though, are the 405 teachers and other employees who received their second shot in the arm of the Moderna vaccine last week, as well.

That second dose, health experts say, promises to deliver a better than 94% protection rate against the coronavirus, after the two-week waiting period for full effectiveness.