Newcastle Schools To Continue In-Person Classes After Group Forced To Quarantine

Friday, August 14th 2020, 10:44 pm

Newcastle Public Schools will continue with in-person classes after an elementary school class was quarantined. 

Superintendent Melonie Hau said a family member of a student tested positive for COVID-19, and the student showed symptoms on Thursday, the district’s second day of classes. 

The student’s exposure to the positive family member and ensuing symptoms prompted the district to send the class home for 14 days of distance learning, Hau said. 

According to Hau, almost every student in the class was wearing a mask, including the presumed positive student even though face coverings are not required in the elementary school. 

The rest of the school plans to return to Newcastle Elementary on Monday. 

“We have done everything that we can do to make sure we’re following the proper (state) guidelines,” Hau said. “We're working through these protocols and making these very tough decisions.” 

Nearly 12% of Newcastle students opted for the district’s virtual learning option, according to a letter Hau sent to parents this week. 

Hau said Friday the district would help any parent that wants to transition to online classes. 

“There are no easy decisions,” Hau said. “This is a lose-lose for schools. It’s hard for families. It’s hard for students. If we had chosen to do virtual (courses for all Newcastle students) …. It would have been messy too.” 

Several other school districts that started classes recently also reported COVID-19 exposures among students or staff this week. 

Related: Konawa Public Schools Shut Down Friday Due To COVID-19 Case