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Smiths Station High School to transition to virtual classes beginning Wednesday
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Smiths Station High School to transition to virtual classes beginning Wednesday

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Smiths Station High School announced it is moving to virtual classes starting Wednesday and plans to stay that way through Sept. 7.

The model will require students to work virtually from home and not report to the high school’s campus while Smiths Station High School staff who are not quarantined or positive for COVID-19 will report to the school building, according to the announcement.

Smiths Station High School Principal Brad Cook said that while he didn’t have exact numbers of positive COVID-19 cases at his school, the school’s nurses were “extremely overwhelmed” by the number of cases and the contact tracing work to be done stemming from those positive cases.

“The number of students we’ve had every day and the number of positives and quarantines and the number of staff we’ve had are the reasons we went ahead and made this decision,” Cook said. “It’s still kind of gut-wrenching to me having to pull the trigger on this today. I started to do it yesterday, but I was trying to run it as far as I could without having to put kids back at home.

“That’s not where they need to be. They need to be in school, but based on the health issues we’re experiencing, I think it was necessary at this time.”

As of Tuesday, the high school said extracurricular activities will continue, and updates will be made in the event of changes.

The announcement comes after Lee County Schools announced Aug. 20 that Beulah Elementary School and Wacoochee Elementary school would be moving to virtual classes from Monday to Friday, with all co-curricular and extra-curricular activities cancelled and expected to resume Aug. 30, according to the school system.

Also on Aug. 20, Lee County Schools decided to begin requiring 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 of 88 more cases Aug. 16 and 17.

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