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COVID a consistent fact in Mon schools

MORGANTOWN — It was business as usual in Monongalia County schools last week.

Students shuffled in for class and teachers worked from their lesson plans.

Football teams and marching bands performed under the Friday night lights.

County voters renewed the excess levy for education, as they regularly have since 1973, when the measure first hit the ballot.

And COVID kept showing up.

The district ended the week with 89 students and 11 staffers testing positive across the county.

A total of 301 students were in quarantine, as were eight other school employees — all sitting out as a precaution, after possible contact in classrooms and hallways.

Seventeen positive cases among students at Cheat Lake Elementary were reported, with 39 of their classmates also in quarantine.

Eleven students tested positive at North Elementary, and an additional 75 students are sitting in quarantine, in the effort to quell an outbreak.

Other schools across West Virginia haven’t been as fortunate.

Buffalo High School in Putnam County topped that list with 45 outbreak cases, the state Department of Education reported.

Seven other schools in that county are also experiencing outbreaks, the department said. Raleigh, Wood and Logan counties are also reporting multiple cases in multiple schools.

No outbreaks to date have been reported in Monongalia and Marion counties, though heavy absences related in part to COVID prompted Preston County’s school district to put its students on remote learning two weeks ago. In-person learning there resumed Monday.

Bridgeport High and Lincoln High in Harrison County also reported outbreaks, the department said.

In Mon County, district officials are still pushing for vaccines for all eligible students, staffers, parents and anyone else associated with the school system.

Earlier this month, Deputy Schools Superintendent Donna Talerico said she was encouraged, in that more than 75% of teachers and other employees have been fully vaccinated at clinics hosted by the district.

“And that’s just through us,” she said. “It’s probably higher than that, since others have gone elsewhere for the shot.”

Meanwhile, Mon County was among the 32 counties showing red Monday on the County Alert map maintained by the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

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