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Three New COVID Cases Close WPHS

Editor’s note: The story has been clarified to reiterate that quarantined Wheeling Park High School students that are members of sports teams will not be participating in upcoming sports contests.

WHEELING — Wheeling Park High School is closed this week after three new positive COVID-19 cases have been reported since Saturday. Contact tracing from the positives now has at least 50 students and staff quarantined.

All learning this week — starting today — will be done remotely, Ohio County Schools Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said.

However, even with the halt of in-person learning, athletic contests will continue to be held — even as some of the quarantined students are members of fall sports teams. Those quarantined sports teams members will not participate in upcoming games.

The one-week closure of Wheeling Park for in-person learning is being done after discussions between county education officials and the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department.

On Saturday, the health department reported one new positive COVID-19 case of a Wheeling Park student.

Then on Sunday, two additional positives — one a student, one a staff member — prompted officials to move all learning remote.

Among those quarantined are 40 students, and 10 staff members, according to Jones.

“Because of the three COVID cases, we are going to remote learning, and we will reassess the situation at the end of the week,” Jones said.

Athletics at the school will not be affected by the closure, according to Jones. He said it isn’t a state requirement they do so as Ohio County is not considered a heavily infected county by the state’s metrics. In fact, Ohio County is “green” on the latest West Virginia Department of Education COVID-19 map, released Saturday.

“Since it is just one building, we are allowed to resume” athletics, he said. “If we wanted to shut them down, we could.”

Jones confirmed there have been “a couple of athletes who have had to be quarantined.” He said there have been no outbreaks among the school’s sports teams.

West Liberty Elementary School, meanwhile, will reopen today after being closed due to COVID-related staffing issues last week.

All schools with the exception of Wheeling Park will be open for in-person classes four days this week, with school buildings being closed on Wednesday for cleaning. Students will be responsible for remote learning at home on that day.

Along with the two positives at Wheeling Park, the health department Sunday also announced three other new COVID-19 cases. Since March, Ohio County has seen a total of 460 cases with seven deaths. Of those, 403 have recovered, according to statistics from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

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