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New Athens High School pivots to virtual learning after 14 students test positive for COVID-19

The high school students who are not under quarantine will return to in-person learning on Sept. 13
Credit: Google Maps
A Google Maps view shows the exterior of New Athens High School in St. Clair County, Illinois.

NEW ATHENS, Ill. — New Athens High School is moving all of its students to virtual learning after 14 students tested positive for COVID-19, the school district's superintendent said Tuesday.

District 60 Superintendent Brian Karraker said the increase in student cases prompted the district to take an "adaptive pause", moving to 100% virtual. The high school students who are not under quarantine will return to in-person learning on Sept. 13. 

The district's elementary and middle schools did not go to virtual learning.

According to the Illinois State Board of Education, the school had 156 students in the 2019-2020 school year. Fourteen students would account for about 9% of the total student body of the high school if enrollment numbers remained consistent. Another 31 students were close contacts. 

No teachers tested positive, but three were quarantined due to close contact.

This is not the first Illinois school to pivot to virtual learning after an increase in COVID-19 cases. The Staunton Community Unit School District moved to remote learning from Aug. 23-29, less than two weeks after the school year started.

RELATED: Illinois school district pivots to remote learning after increase in COVID cases

According to the district's website, 16 students tested positive for COVID-19 between Aug. 16 and Aug. 20. Of those 16 students, 12 of them are high school students and the others are elementary and junior high students. Ninety-eight students were under quarantine.

One staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.

The building was sanitized during the closure.

Last week, the Associated Press reported that more than 25 Illinois schools were reporting COVID-19 outbreaks, mostly in districts that are complying with Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s school mask executive order.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday identified 26 schools with COVID-19 outbreaks. The outbreaks reported by the department include those that have been identified by the school’s local health department to have at least two COVID-19 cases among people who may have a shared exposure on school grounds and come from different households.

RELATED: Illinois health department says 26 schools report COVID-19 outbreaks