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South Butler not nearing virtual learning threshold

While there has been a steady trickle of COVID-19 cases at South Butler County School District, none of the four schools are anywhere near the threshold numbers that would necessitate virtual learning at home.

Superintendent David Foley said at the high school, which has the most active cases, 32 more students would need to test positive for the state Department of Health to recommend the school close and students learn at home for 14 days.

He said as of Monday, five students and three staff members were considered active COVID-19 cases.

While 24 students are currently in quarantine due to exposure to the virus, more than 100 students were in quarantine during the school's peak last year, Foley said.

Another difference from last school year, Foley said, is that students and staff who were wearing a mask when they were within three to six feet of a positive case for 15 minutes or more do not need to quarantine.

Last year, anyone closely exposed had to quarantine at home for 14 days.

Foley said current students who are in a 14-day quarantine can return to school before their time is up if they meet certain safety and health standards.

He said the district had a total count of 10 active cases among students and five among staff as of Monday.

“We're always concerned about the number of cases and always concerned about disruption to learning, but we're under the threshold for consideration of school closures at this point,” Foley said, “and we're hoping it stays that way.”

He said sports and extracurricular activities are being held as usual, unless a student is within their 14-day quarantine window.

Regarding staff, Foley said the district has been able to maintain teachers in all classes.

“We have had some challenges with custodial workers,” Foley said, “and (W.L.) Roenigk is working to maintain enough bus drivers.”

He said students and parents have been cooperating with the state mask mandate.

“We've been fortunate that we are moving forward with the masks and students have been cooperating,” Foley said.

The district announced on Monday that the parent open houses normally held at all schools at this time of year have been postponed indefinitely.