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MHS teacher tests positive for COVID Friday, as colleagues were being vaccinated

Morgantown High School picked up a case of irony Friday to go with another positive diagnosis of COVID-19.

It was announced that an MHS teacher had come down with the coronavirus, on the same day educators and others who work in the district were receiving their first doses of the Moderna vaccine in the gym.

Another round for first-timers will be next Friday at Morgantown High as well, with hopes of including those coaches and other support personnel across the system who aren’t on the district’s fulltime payroll.

Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr., while noting the ironic implications, did say the district is continuing to move forward in hopes that the pandemic will lessen – as more shots go into more arms.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing,” he said.

“The impact of this one is minimal, in that we didn’t have to do any quarantining.”

During this most recent week, however, quarantining has been the school rule at MHS.

Students in grades 9-12 went back to their classes this week across Mon County and West Virginia as per that mandate by the state Department of Education calling for five-day, in-person instruction.

While less than half of Morgantown High’s more than 1,800 students showed up – others either opted for distance-learning through the county and state or are being homeschooled – those who did return did so with an unwanted classmate.

COVID was also present, amid the backpacks, Chromebooks – and lacrosse sticks.

After two players on the boys lacrosse team tested positive, the district announced Monday the remainder of the 36 players on the team, plus a number of coaches, would sit out for two weeks as a precaution.

The infected players came in contact with the virus in two separate incidents away from the school building, Campbell said.

Also Monday, another student not associated with the team came down with COVID.

A student tested positive Sunday, also, putting another classmate into isolation for safety.

Last month, the entire MHS girls basketball team, coaches included, was benched for two weeks after a player turned up with a positive diagnosis.

Every case in the district, Campbell said – including Friday’s most recent report – has come from the county and not by way of an outbreak with any school classroom, hallway or weight room.

Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico told Board of Education members Tuesday that Mon’s district is more than equipped to deal with its pandemic day-to-day.

Each school, she said, has ample supplies of personal protective equipment, with unwavering policies on masks, hand-washing and social distancing.

There’s also the district’s in-house contact tracing network and specially trained COVID cleaning and disinfecting crew, which is on call seven days a week.

Today also marks the one-year anniversary of pandemic life in West Virginia as we know it now.

With the coronavirus then looming just outside the state’s borders, Gov. Jim Justice on March 13, 2020 – Friday the 13th – made the call to shutter every school across all 55 counties, for what was initially supposed to be a two-week period until things settled down.