William E. Norris School shifts to remote learning following positive COVID cases

  • Southampton William E. Norris School, 2019. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/11/2020 7:20:42 PM
Modified: 12/11/2020 7:20:29 PM

SOUTHAMPTON — William E. Norris School will shift to all-remote learning for an indefinite period beginning Monday after reporting three new cases of COVID-19 within its community on Thursday.

None of the individuals who tested positive had close contact with others in the school community, Norris Principal Aliza M. Pluta wrote in an all-school email. Pluta sent out two email alerts on Thursday, first announcing one positive case then adding two others. Southampton is currently at the highest-risk level, or “red” designation, for COVID-19 transmission, according to the state Department of Public Health.

“This increase in community cases strains the ability of our Public Health Nurse to quickly respond and complete contact tracing,” Pluta wrote in an email. “Considering the increasing trend of cases in our school and town, we decided it is time to move from our current hybrid learning model to a remote learning model for Norris.

“We strongly believe that there is no replacement for in-person learning and the connections between students and teachers and peers. However, the safety of our students and staff remain our top priority,” she added.

The first individual who tested positive “was not in the school building during their infectious period,” Pluta wrote, and the other two individuals who were infected were already quarantined at the time of their positive tests.

Of the positive cases identified at the school so far, Pluta said, one student was contagious while at school but did not transmit the virus. Several have tested positive to date, Pluta said, including three cases reported on Monday and another case the previous week.

A School Committee will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday to discuss the matter.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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