Ludlow Public Schools considering remote learning after Thanksgiving due to rising COVID-19 numbers

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LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in the area, Ludlow Public Schools may need to move to remote learning after Thanksgiving.

Ludlow Public Schools Superintendent Todd Gazda told 22News, 23 Ludlow students have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the school year and 136 more have been identified as close contacts who have had to quarantine. There have also been 179 students that have been kept home by parents or sent home by school nurses who then had to quarantine or provide negative test results before returning. Nineteen students also have had to quarantine because of the Governor’s travel restriction.

In total Ludlow Public Schools has had 328 students who have had their education disrupted because of COVID-19. Gazda said, in addition, 58 staff have had to miss work because of COVID-19 testing, symptoms, or exposure. The rate is increasing with 25% of the students impacted being from the last 10 days alone.

On Wednesday, Gazda sent an email to Ludlow students and families about a member of the Ludlow High School community testing positive for COVID-19. The school is following all Department of Public Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education protocols, including collaborating with the local board of health to complete contact tracing.

Ludlow High School undergoes cleaning and disinfecting each night to ensure everyone’s safety.

Gazda is urging everyone to continue wearing a mask, keep physically distant from others, and wash your hands.

Gazda said the increased number of cases and the frequency in which they are occurring is making contact tracing more and more difficult so if the trend continues they will be forced to move to fully remote learning after Thanksgiving.

According to the metrics Ludlow Public Schools has established, a level of 5% or higher percent positive testing rate for Hampden County for a 14-day continuous period will move the district to the fully Remote Learning model. The level of percent positive testing in Hampden County was at 4.46%.

According to Gazda, given the current trend of rising case numbers in the region, it will break 5% Thursday and it will most likely break 5% again on Thanksgiving, which would reach the 14-day mark and push Ludlow to full remote learning well into January.

“We have struggled through this year to maintain staffing levels and quarantine exposed individuals to avoid having to revert to fully remote learning. Where many of our surrounding districts have had to transition either to remote teaching in buildings or as a whole district, we have managed to maintain our hybrid model. Although nothing is set in stone, given our current trends families should prepare in the event that we have to transition to remote learning. I am truly sorry it has come to this. I realize that this has been an incredibly difficult time for students and families. I recognize the impact of not being in the building for learning has on our kids. However, as has been true since the beginning of this pandemic, the health and safety of our students, staff, and community must come first.”

Gazda said in a statement sent to students and families

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