Franklin County’s surge of positive coronavirus tests forced a county school district to go to remote learning.


The West Franklin School district will move from in-person classes to remote learning for all students, Nov. 17-Dec. 4, superintendent Jerry Turner said. All activities, including basketball practices, will be postponed through Dec. 7.


The district’s middle school and high school students have been in remote learning mode all this week.


The Franklin County Health Department reported Wednesday there were 27 new cases of COVID-19 since Monday. The active case count increased to 228, which is a record high. There are 65 pending test results and four current hospitalizations reported to the health department.


Turner said this decision was a necessary move.


"West Franklin has seen an increase in the number of positive cases of students and staff," Turner said. "We also have a number of students and staff that are quarantined. This is a tough decision to make because we know the impact it will have on our USD 287 families. However, our priority is to protect the health and safety of our students and staff as much as possible. We will continue to monitor the situation closely for future weeks."


West Franklin district will not be in session from Nov. 25-27 for Thanksgiving and Dec. 7.


Meal pickup will be available on scheduled school days. Meals must be ordered by calling 785-418-4311, no later than noon Friday. Meals may be picked up at the campus nearest to patrons from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


The test positivity rate in the first two weeks of November in the county increased to 20%, health officials reported. The COVID-19 cases continue to affect people of a wide range of ages, as well as symptomatic and asymptomatic people. There was one reported COVID-19 death from this past weekend, bringing the county’s total to eight.


Health officials said it takes five to seven days after exposure for most people to develop the coronavirus. Asymptomatic individuals, who have a known exposure, will not be tested until Day 7 or later.


Franklin County acknowledges Gov. Laura Kelley’s executive order of wearing masks. Health officials strongly recommend the wearing of masks in all spaces. Health officials said residents have relaxed the important practices of wearing masks, social distancing and limiting events to 45 people, leading to the surge in cases.