Hazen Superintendent Ken Miller and Beulah Superintendent Travis Jordan sat together for a livestream on Thursday to provide updates with the community on COVID-19 in their districts.
They were joined by Aaron Garman, the medical director from Coal Country Community Health Center.
Miller said as of Thursday, Sept. 17, students in grades 9-12 will be doing 100% distance learning while students in grades K-8 will still learn face-to-face.
During the video, Miller explained the change was due to the number of positive COVID-19 cases, quarantined staff members and students in grades 9-12 missing school because they weren’t feeling well, whether from COVID-19 symptoms or not.
To date, Miller says five high school employees have tested positive, nine staff are quarantined, 22 high school students were out sick (whether from COVID-19 symptoms or not) and 28 high school students were quarantined.
He says because they can’t fill the 14 staff spots and out of concern of students who are out sick, the switch to distance learning for the high school was a must to “get everyone healthy again.”
A message sent to Hazen families and shared with KX News says the high school will resume face-to-face learning on Oct. 1.
Because of the high school closure, extracurricular activities will also be suspended until Oct. 1, meaning there will be no practice or competitions for high school students. Students in grades K-8 will continue their regular activities.
As for Beulah, Jordan says the four days of face-to-face learning (Mondays through Thursdays) and one day of distance learning (Fridays) is “going fairly well.”
He said in the video that between 50-60 staff and students are in quarantine, two staff members tested positive for COVID-19 and there are “a few” positive students. There are no teachers in quarantine.
Jordan says they’re continuing their current learning plan.
When Garman asked about their biggest frustration with schools being open, Miller says it’s the difference between what people are doing in school compared to what they’re doing in the evenings.
He said at school, kids and staff are “great” at distancing and wearing masks when they can’t distance, but when school is over and everyone goes to activities or the store, some “kinda forget the reason why we’re doing the things we’re doing.”
He said at school, kids do well with wearing masks and it upsets him that kids are missing out on social aspects of school. He said it might be difficult to wear masks and not have social gatherings, but if they want schools to stay open, they might “have to be inconvenienced.”
To watch the full livestream, CLICK HERE.