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Classes shuttered; sports imperiled

Staff writer

Marion public school students who rode an activity bus Friday might need to quarantine after its driver, Jerry Kline, tested positive for COVID-19 and was put into isolation Sunday.

Kline said he was tested after his wife, Norma, got positive results from a test performed Friday.

Now both are in isolation, although Jerry is asymptomatic.

“I never did feel bad,” Jerry said. “My wife came down with a cough, so she got tested Friday.”

County medical consultant Don Hodson said how many students should be quarantined depends on how well they practiced social distancing and whether everyone wore masks.

Schools

“As long as everybody was wearing masks, I would quarantine the kids that were assigned a seat within 6 feet of the driver,” Hodson said. “The school could just wait a week and test everybody who was on the bus.”

Superintendent Aaron Homburg did not return a call to the Marion County Record Tuesday.

Preschool classes at Peabody Burns are not meeting after a student tested positive.

Superintendent Ron Traxson said preschoolers were not moved to remote learning because of the short number of days they must be quarantined.

“We had a little guy who turned out positive from last week,” he said. “Our kids won’t come back until Tuesday.”

Traxson said schools are told younger students are less likely to transmit COVID and less likely to have severe symptoms.

“We’ve got one situation here that we’re keeping a close eye on,” he said.

The school will continue to keep tabs on students after their return from Thanksgiving break.

“It’s a week-to-week thing with sports,” Traxson said. “We’ve got two games scheduled next week.”

Preschool through fifth grades at Centre schools were switched to online learning after a staff member tested positive for COVID.

Several students and staff are direct contacts, superintendent Susan Beeson said.

Preschool through fifth grade classes will learn remotely through the Dec. 18 start of winter break.

Students in grades 6-12 were already taking remote classes because a large number of them were quarantined.

Beeson said all students were tentatively scheduled to return to the classroom after winter break Jan. 4.

“This is extremely disappointing and bad for us,” Beeson said. “It’s very sad for the parents.”

Beeson said it’s important to provide safety for students and make decisions that help working parents maintain employment.

The school has between 85 and 90 preschool through fifth grade students, she said.

A meal program will continue to provide food for students, delivering the meals directly to families or to community locations, she said.

“We’re appreciative of our families and our school board members in the times that tough decisions have to be made for the safety of all,” Beeson said. “This is a terrible burden on people having to make these decisions.”

Hillsboro superintendent Max Heinrichs said the district’s students can continue face-to-face classes.

“We are looking good, but like everybody else we are anticipating a little bit of an uptick,” Heinrichs said.

Students in grades 6 to 12 attend on a hybrid schedule with half the students attending in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, and grade school classes meet face-to-face daily.

“We have kids in remote because they are in quarantine,” he said. “At the Dec. 14 board meeting we will talk about what we’re going to do in January.”

Last modified Dec. 10, 2020

 

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