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East Hall High closure extended following COVID-19 cases

Update Dec. 8: East Hall High School will remain closed to students through the rest of the week, operating virtually instead following 11 COVID-19 positive cases first reported last week. That extends a plan put in place last week.

"We will continue to monitor the situation daily and will notify parents over the weekend regarding whether or not blended learning should be extended further," a news release from the school system states.

A second Hall school, CW Davis Middle, will also move to at-home learning beginning Wednesday, Dec. 9, the district said Tuesday.

Original story: East Hall High School will operate remotely beginning Monday, Dec. 7, and continuing for at least three days.

The Hall County School System made the announcement Friday afternoon following what they called a significant amount of absences among staff and students resulting from COVID-19 positive cases. There were 10 student absences and one staff absence due to positive COVID tests, and 53 students were quarantined.

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East Hall students will move to “blended” learning, meaning they will be required to complete assignments from home and there will be no in-person instruction.  Students making this transition will have access to all of their current classes through Canvas.

“This is the first time we’ve seen a situation like this in any of our schools this year,” Hall Superintendent Will Schofield told The Times on Friday.

Lewis said the decision to switch to blended learning was prompted by several reasons.

“It was the fact that we had 10 cases among students, and this is the first time we’ve gotten an indication that we might have a limited number of cases where the transmission occurred on campus," he said.

Lisa Brooks, parent of Destiny Brooks, a senior at East Hall, told The Times her daughter was pulled from her basketball game due to the change and her son struggles to keep up with his classes online.

“I think it’s best for the safety of the students, and I appreciate the attempt to keep the students healthy," she said. "But I do not understand what good three days is going to do."

East Hall senior Hevenly Lopez told The Times the number of cases makes her worry for her safety and that of the community.

“I can only hope that these days off will help; however, this issue can't be solved unless every individual does their part in keeping our school healthy and thriving,” she said.

Junior Danny Carrillo said he wasn’t shocked by the news.

“As more and more people got quarantined I knew that something had to happen to keep the rest of the school safe,” he said.

The school will undergo a deep cleaning Saturday, Dec. 5. Parents should be notified by noon Wednesday whether or not students can return for in-person instruction or will carry on with blended learning. 

Clubs will meet online during the three days, and all home sports games have been canceled, Lewis said. However, away games will operate normally.

Once a day, Monday through Wednesday, meals will be delivered to students on the East Hall High bus routes. The buses will leave for delivery around 9-9:30 a.m. Students can also pick up meals from East Hall High between 10-11 a.m. For questions concerning meals, call school nutrition at 770-534-1080.

Systemwide on Friday, there were 90 absences due to COVID. In the student population of 27,157, there were 570 quarantined.

Times intern Daniela Carrasco, an East Hall High School student, contributed to this article.

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