Students in the Burlington Area School District will shift to an all-virtual learning environment through Thanksgiving week due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in district schools. (File photo)

 

Burlington area public schools will shift to an entirely virtual learning format beginning Wednesday and continuing at least through Thanksgiving week this month due to the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in local schools.

In a letter sent to parents Monday afternoon, Burlington Area School District officials said the district has experienced 24 positive cases among staff and students in the past eight days. That’s compared to 31 total cases through the first 11 weeks of the school year. Officials called the current path “unsustainable.”

“With multiple new positive COVID-19 cases just this morning, the Burlington Area School District has reached a tipping point and has made the very difficult decision to shift to virtual learning…,” the letter states.

“We will continue to monitor the health and wellbeing, as best we can, for those in our district and community,” it continues. “If the situation does not improve, a decision about the final three weeks of the semester (Nov. 30 through Dec. 18) will need to be made. Your actions during this duration will impact the district’s ability to return to the hybrid instructional model.”

District officials acknowledged the hardship the change causes for families with parents who must work during the school day.

“Shifting to an all-virtual learning model is definitely not what we want to do, but this is what is necessary to do at this time,” the letter states.

The district has used an in-person format for students at the elementary school level and a hybrid format for students in middle and high schools since classes began in August.

      For full coverage of this matter see the Nov. 12 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.