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Belpre City Schools super expresses virus concerns

Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley speaks during the Belpre City Schools virtual town hall Thursday evening. (Image Provided)

BELPRE — Belpre City Schools Superintendent Jeff Greenley held a virtual town hall meeting on Thursday evening to give an update about the recent rise of positive COVID-19 cases in the area potentially causing Belpre City Schools to go with full-remote learning in the near future due to the holidays coming up.

Greenley said there is concern that due to having a large number of individuals traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, there could be an increase in positive cases occurring in Belpre. He also stated that other school districts in Ohio are going to switch to remote learning after Thanksgiving break and remain until after Christmas break.

Greenley said he’s been considering the situation. If Belpre City Schools continues in-person, there could be a point where the schools would be forced to be remote, such as from staffing issues, not having enough people in place, and if they started to see more of a spread in the buildings, he said.

Greenley did say that the point of the town hall was to hear first-hand from the community if they should continue in person or have a plan for going remote if needed.

“If we continue to go forward, can we continue to have the staffing that we need? And if so, then we’ll be fine. Some districts have decided ‘we’re just going to go ahead and get ahead and go remote.’ It’s a trade-off that as a community, we need to make. Part of my point of being here tonight is to get feedback from all of you in terms of as a community,” Greenley said. “Would you rather have more of an ability to make a plan and to know that this is what we’re going to do? Or would you rather we continue to go as long as we can. If in terms of staffing or spread, if we need to stop, we’ll do that.”

Greenley also then posted total positive cases by zip code in Washington County and said that Belpre zip codes made up 127 of the 878 total cases starting since last March. It has seen a rise of positive cases in the past month, having 90 positive cases since last month and 85 in the past two weeks. Cases are declining however each week, said Greenley.

On Oct. 12 the first positive in the school system occurred resulting in three having to be quarantined. On both Nov. 4 and 6, one positive case was found and seven had to be quarantined. On Nov. 11 there were two separate positive cases, two resulting in 16 individuals having to be quarantined and one having quarantined three. And just recently on Wednesday, one positive case had 43 individuals to be quarantined. Three cases are CDC probable, which means someone was in close contact and showed symptoms without a positive case or test.

There has also been an increase in high school students’ absences in the last month since the last town hall, but also had an increase in the elementary school with 73 absent students on Wednesday and 121 on Thursday. But Greenley said the reason why was due to a kindergarten classroom and school bus riders having to quarantine.

Contact Tyler Bennett at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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