EASTLAKE, Ohio — The Willoughby-Eastlake school district has shut down Eastlake Middle School for the time being after another student tested positive for COVID-19.
In addition, most Willowick Middle School eighth graders will quarantine after a student there tested positive as well. Three middle schoolers have now tested positive in the last two days, two at Eastlake and one at Willowick.
The district originally opted to just keep all Eastlake eighth graders home until Oct. 19 after a student in that grade tested positive, but now the building will conduct all classes remotely up to that date. According to the Willoughby-Eastlake COVID reopening plan, if two students in two different grades at the same school contract the virus, the entire school will close for a deep cleaning so students and staff can quarantine.
Lake County Health and school leaders believe students are contracting it from family members.
"Several of our cases have been from colleges, brought home, and then given to younger siblings," Superintendent Steve Thompson told 3News. "They’re out with their peers or doing their school activities or being in class and that’s how we’re beginning to see the spread."
Based on the information known at this time, Thompson added one student should've never come to school in the first place.
"In one case we believe that the student should have been in quarantine and in the other case they would not have been able to know," he said.
According to a letter sent to parents by Dr. Colleen Blaurock, the principal of Eastlake Middle School, students are expected to be online during scheduled class times and materials have already been distributed. Essential staff will remain in the school buildings if materials are needed.
This is the second time Willoughby-Eastlake has been forced to send at least some students home due to a positive coronavirus test, as weeks ago 75 children were forced to quarantine after a sixth grader at the School of Innovation in Willoughby Hills contracted the disease. Today's developments do not affect Willoughby Middle School, and classes there are continuing as normal for the time being.
"I completely understand why our parents are frustrated because it has been so inconsistent in terms of what one day is gonna look like to the next cause it can change so rapidly and it has changed," Thompson admitted.