St. Mary’s School sends middle school students home after small COVID-19 outbreak

MEDFORD, Ore. — 5 students and 1 faculty member have tested positive for COVID-19 at St. Mary’s School.

The principal here tells me they’re all back home distance learning and quarantining.

The entire middle school is now moving online.

“We’re erring on the side of caution and health and we decided to lessen the amount of contacts each day to be proactive with this and thought that we would go online for the next couple weeks,” said Principal Jim Meyer.

Meyer says the students and faculty member were a part of the 6th grade cohort.

He says staff and students will stay home for the next 2 weeks.

“We make sure the operational blueprint is in line with everything the health department is recommending, and this is just an extension of that, by taking care of the kids and quarantining them for the next 14 days.”

Principal Meyer says disinfecting and cleaning classrooms has been a top priority this weekend.

They’re also working directly with Jackson County Public Health to make sure things are being done the right way.

“We work very closely with the health department and they’ve been fantastic and we stay in touch with them pretty much everyday, to make sure we’re following the right protocols and ensuring the safety of our faculty, staff, students and parents,” he said.

Although Meyer prefers the students be learning on campus, he says the quick switch to distance learning is beneficial.

“Because we have such, you know, a personal relationship for our students and the teaching style that we use – the online learning goes very well for us, and we aren’t really missing a beat,” said Principal Meyer.

Meyer says the entire middle school and staff are expected back on campus by February 1st, however, that plan is subject to change if any new cases come up.

NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor's Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology. In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she's not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.
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