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Concerned about the potential spread of COVID, State College Area School District switches some fifth-graders to remote

Panorama Admin Bldg.jpg
Anne Danahy
State College Area School District's Mount Nittany Elementary fifth-graders have been going to school in the Panorama Village building for space reasons in the 2021-22 school year. The district temporarily switched them to remote learning in September 2021 after several students tested positive for COVID-19.
Updated: September 28, 2021 at 11:36 AM EDT
All three of State College Area School District's Mount Nittany Elementary fifth grade classes will now be taught remotely until Monday, according to the district. The change comes as two more students and one employee have tested positive for COVID-19 since Friday.

Due to possible exposure to COVID-19, the State College Area School District is quarantining students in Mount Nittany Elementary’s three fifth-grade classes until Wednesday.

The move came after the school district saw five cases within eight days, spokesman Chris Rosenblum said.

"Though classrooms follow masking, distancing and ventilation protocols, contact tracing had indicated likely in-school transmission," Rosenblum said in an email.

"Because of the multiple interactions that occur among students in all three classes, such as at lunch, math and recess, we made a proactive, grade-level decision to prevent potential further spread and additional loss of in-person learning," he said. "We realize this will be a hardship for some families, but we believe it was a necessary step."

As of Monday, 74 students districtwide were in quarantine as close contacts. All but six of them were in the Mount Nittany fifth-grade classes. Those classes were already being taught at the Panorama Village building for space reasons.

Classes are taking place remotely until Wednesday, when students who test negative for COVID can return to class. Students who don’t get tested will have to stay home until Monday.

Rosenblum said no other classes at Mount Nittany or other schools have been similarly affected.

According to the state Department of Health, as of Sept. 22, there had been 322 cases of COVID among 5- to 18-year-olds in Centre County since Aug. 16.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.
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