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West Orange-Stark goes completely virtual after Covid-19 outbreak

An unknown number of the high school's volleyball team has tested positive for coroanvirus

ORANGE COUNTY, Texas — An outbreak of positive Covid-19 cases among West Orange-Stark's volleyball team has led the district to move the entire high school to virtual learning for at least two weeks. 

“As we released last week, the volleyball team had a confirmed positive case, and now we are receiving more reports that additional quarantined players have also tested positive," superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris said in a news release. "Our priority is the safety and well-being of students and staff, and we have chosen to be proactive in this situation.”

(Editor's Note: The video above is from a September report about West Orange-Stark amending virtual learning criteria)

Contract tracing and an investigation by the health department took place last week, Dawn Martin, the district's director of communications, said in a news release. 

Martin said volleyball players and coaches were sent home to quarantine, but tracing had become "more challenging" because additional players have tested positive. 

"We recognize the challenges for students to go completely virtual and have evaluated technological needs that students may face to be successful. Chromebooks and internet hotspots have been distributed to students," the district said. "Staff will be available during the 14-day closure, and teachers will continue to provide instruction and support to students virtually."

Virtual learning begins October 14 and will take place until at least October 28th, Martin said. 

"Deep cleaning and sanitization of the WOSHS campus will take place while the campus is closed," the release said. 

Meals will be distributed to students during the two-week virtual learning period. 

RELATED: West Orange-Cove schools to require virtual learning students with failing grades, too many absences to return to campus

News release from the district

Out of an abundance of caution, West Orange-Stark High School will transition students to virtual learning from October 14-28, 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The decision is based on a recent positive COVID case with the high school volleyball team. Superintendent Dr. Rickie Harris stated, “As we released last week, the volleyball team had a confirmed positive case, and now we are receiving more reports that additional quarantined players have also tested positive. Our priority is the safety and well-being of students and staff, and we have chosen to be proactive in this situation.”

Contact tracing and a thorough investigation by the health department took place last week following the positive case confirmation. Volleyball players and coaches were sent home to quarantine. However, it has become more challenging to contact trace all possible close contacts now that additional volleyball players have tested positive.

We recognize the challenges for students to go completely virtual and have evaluated technological needs that students may face to be successful. Chromebooks and internet hotspots (generously donated by INVISTA) have been distributed to students.  Staff will be available during the 14-day closure, and teachers will continue to provide instruction and support to students virtually.  Students must continue to adhere to attendance requirements and apply themselves to the lessons while engaging with their teachers in distance learning.

Deep cleaning and sanitization of the WOSHS campus will take place while the campus is closed. Meals will continue to be distributed as scheduled.