West Smiths Station Elementary School transitioned from in-person learning to virtual learning Tuesday, according to a message on the Lee County Schools’ website Monday.
“Due to the high rate of COVID exposures and while in collaboration with [Superintendent James] McCoy, we have decided that transitioning to blended learning from Tuesday, august 31—Thursday, September 9th is best for West Smiths Station Elementary School,” Principal Lane Lindsay said in a letter to the school community.
Students will learn virtually from home while staff that is not quarantined or have not tested positive for COVID-19 will report to their respective school buildings for all of next week, according to the announcement from Lee County Schools.
“There is still a great deal of instruction we need to provide to our students, so it is imperative that they continue to work hard, attend the Zoom scheduled sessions, turn in assignments, and ask for help from their teachers,” the message from the school system said.
The change will last from Tuesday to Sept. 9, during which all co-curricular and extra-curricular school activities are cancelled until Sept. 10.
Breakfast and lunch meals will still be available from the elementary school’s cafeteria and distributed to cars in the car rider line of the school if students need a meal. Pickup for meals will take place between 11 a.m. and noon Central Standard Time, and students must be in the car to receive their meals.
“We appreciate your understanding and support as we strive to keep our faculty, staff, students and WSSES families safe,” Lindsay said in the letter. “Let’s remember to work together to bring those COVID positive case numbers back down by practicing safety protocols—wearing masks, physically distancing, frequent handwashing, etc. Together, our actions can make a difference for our entire community.”
The transition to virtual learning comes after two other elementary schools in the school system, Beulah Elementary School and Wacoochee Elementary School, also made the transition last week. Additionally, Smiths Station High School made the same transition last week that will last until at least Sept. 7.
The announcements come after Lee County Schools decided Aug. 20 to require masks to be worn while inside all of its school buildings following the reporting of 105 positive COVID-19 cases within its schools from Aug. 9-13 and 88 more cases Aug. 16 and 17.