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Groton school district shifts to distance learning this week, amid an increase in COVID-19 cases after the holidays

Groton — The school system is shifting to full distance learning this week, after school officials saw an increase in COVID-19 cases after the holidays, said Superintendent Susan Austin.

Austin said the school district previously had followed the full distance learning model from Jan. 4 to 8,  the week after the holidays. School officials received information even during that period about positive COVID-19 cases.

The district resumed hybrid learning last week, but it became very difficult to staff the buildings amid multiple positive COVID-19 cases with multiple contacts, she said. 

The district then saw an uptick in cases last Friday and over the weekend.

"This weekend, Groton Public Schools has had multiple positive cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) with numerous contacts reported to administrators at Fitch High School, Groton Middle School, Catherine Kolnaski Magnet School, and Charles Barnum Elementary School," Austin wrote in a notification Sunday to parents, guardians and staff. "We have collaborated with Ledge Light Health District to determine and have already notified the close contacts. The affected individuals have been instructed to isolate at home following public health guidelines."

On Monday the school system reported an additional case at Claude Chester Elementary School.

Austin said she hopes to resume hybrid learning next week and is watching the situation with Ledge Light Health District. She said the situation needs to be monitored on a day-to-day basis.

According to data released by Ledge Light on Friday, Groton had 364 new positive COVID-19 cases from Dec. 27 to Jan. 9. During that two-week period, 8% of antigen and molecular tests were positive.

k.drelich@theday.com

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