Macon High School moves classes online while students quarantine

MACON - Macon High School classes are going online this week for the next two weeks after dozens of students and staff were exposed to individuals infected with COVID-19.

Students from Macon Middle School moved online last week as a result of large exposures among the student body.

The hope for district officials is that two weeks gives enough time for cases and exposures to go down.

District administration said it has been working on contact tracing with the Macon County Health Department to get exposed individuals in quarantine quickly.

"We spent pretty much our whole day for the last week and a half trying to help them do this," Scott Jarvis said. "I've been here until about nine identifying people and figuring out where everybody was at."

286 students and 15 staff were in quarantine as of Wednesday.

Jarvis said there were between 12 and 14 students who had COVID-19.

Officials were able to determine some exposures by using assigned seating in classrooms.

Face coverings were recommended, but not required by the school district.

Jarvis said he preferred in-person classes, but said the plan moving forward will change day-to-day as the response to COVID-19 evolves.

The district has considered a hybrid model of classes where only half of the student body would be in-person on alternating days.

"I'm not crazy about that," said Jarvis. "I'm not crazy about virtual school, but we also have to keep our numbers in check."

The uncertainty about how classes will take place has stressed some students.

Kalista Vanderaa is currently a high school senior. She said she is concerned that herself and others might be negatively affected by the changes in learning style.

"I have a lot of hard classes this year," Vanderaa said. "I'm afraid that when we go back to school, they're going to try to rush us to keep on a schedule."

For now, middle schoolers will return to classes on September 22 and high schoolers will be back on September 28. Elementary school students are still in-person.

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