An Episcopal middle school for girls in Lawrence has temporarily switched to remote learning in response to rising COVID-19 infection rates, officials said Tuesday, more than three and a half years after the pandemic caused schools nationwide to switch to virtual classes.
“Esperanza Academy activated its remote learning plan out of concern for children and adults in our community,” Tessa Kumari Young, the school’s chief strategy and impact officer, said in an email. Administrators at the private school hope to return to in-person learning on Oct. 10, Young said.
“Until then, students will be learning in remote classes from 8:30 a.m. to 2:50 p.m. with additional teacher support available virtually until 5 p.m. each day,” she said. “This plan supports minimal disruption for our families and prioritizes the well-being of our students and staff.”
A number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among the school’s faculty, staff, and 64 students prompted the administration to require masks inside the building before deciding to cancel in-person classes, an official said.
No public schools in the state have returned to remote learning recently, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
In a weekly update last Thursday, state health officials reported 2,745 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 381 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and 28 deaths in the previous week. There have been more than 2,700 new cases reported in each of the past three weeks, as numbers have gradually crept up from a low of 558 new cases reported during the first week in July.