West Franklin moves to remote learning

Greg Mast
gmast@ottawaherald.com

Franklin County’s surge of positive COVID-19 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 through 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 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 on Monday, Nov. 25-27 for Thanksgiving and Dec. 7.

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

The positively rate in the first two weeks of November in the county increased to 17%, health officials reported. The COVID cases continue to be a wide range of ages, as well as symptomatic and asymptomatic. There was one reported COVID-19 death from this past weekend bringing the county’s total to eight.

Health officials said it takes 5 to 7 days after exposure for most people to develop the disease. 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 in wearing masks, social distancing and not limiting events to 45 people.