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More than 500 students in quarantine after 77 COVID cases in Wadsworth schools

The number of students in quarantine represents roughly 12.3 percent of the student population within the district.

WADSWORTH, Ohio — Less than two weeks into the school year, more than 500 students from the Wadsworth City School District have been sent into quarantine or isolation after 77 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.

Before the outbreak, masks were considered optional within the Wadsworth School District.

At a board of education meeting Tuesday, however, Wadsworth City Schools decided to require face coverings. This will be implemented for both students and employees inside any of the buildings during school hours within the district.

"We just felt like right now, across the board masks were needed just to try and get this under control and get those numbers down," explains Wadsworth Superintendent Dr. Andy Hill.

RELATED: Northeast Ohio school districts update mask guidelines for 2021-22 school year

"Masks have been shown again and again and again and again, and again, to reduce the spread of COVID. I'm so tired of people coming after the science as if there's some doubt about it," says Dr. Amy Edwards, pediatrician and epidemiologist at University Hospitals.

The face mask covering requirement began Wednesday and will be enforced for at least three weeks. The board of education is set to meet again on Sept. 20 to discuss the COVID-19 data at that time. Based on the data, they will decide how to proceed from there.

“The initial requirement for all is to try to get our numbers under control during what may be a peak period,” Hill adds.

The school district is also taking extra precautions during the next three weeks. No visitors or volunteers will be permitted during the school day. The administration is also looking to create a safe lunch space for students to eat.

RELATED: LIST: Here are the colleges and universities across Northeast Ohio requiring a COVID-19 vaccine for staff and students

The open house at Central Intermediate School and Wadsworth High School scheduled for this week will be postponed and rescheduled for a later date.

Wadsworth is not the only school that is dealing with issues connected to COVID-19. Highland Elementary in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights district moved three of their classrooms to online early after a few COVID-19 positive cases.

For more information on the cases within the Wadsworth City School District, you can read Hill's report on Facebook below: