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Leslie County Schools closed all week due to COVID-19

Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 12:56 AM EDT
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HYDEN, Ky. (WYMT) - Another Eastern Kentucky school district is canceling classes due to the coronavirus.

In a Facebook post from Leslie County Schools on Sunday, officials with the district said due to “an increase in COVID cases in our schools and additional class quarantines, school will be canceled through August 27th.”

Kentucky River District Health Department officials say this was inevitable.

“They had to quarantine a lot of students and so they reached a threshold where it was just better for them to go ahead and cancel school for a week to kind of give everybody a time to get this exposure under control,” Public Health Director Scott Lockard said.

Lockard said it is a difficult situation for the administration.

“I think our school administrators are really working hard to do what’s best for their community,” Lockard said. “It’s going to be a challenge throughout the rest of this school year. I think we’re going to see focused quarantines of classrooms from time to time.”

Lockard says his team has been working closely with the school district.

“We communicate regularly about what’s going on in the schools and the current number of cases that they have and what actions they should be taking,” Lockard said.

As COVID-19 cases in the district have nearly doubled compared to its previous highest day.

“My epidemiologist this morning, we consulted and for last week we had over 900 new cases of COVID-19 in the seven-county district,” Lockard said.

For situations like this to stop, Lockard said he strongly encourages everyone get vaccinated.

“Pfizer’s the only vaccine right now that’s currently approved for those 12 to 17 years of age,” Lockard said. “So, that is the best choice for those in our school system.”

With the county’s fully vaccinated rate at only 37%, Lockard said there is hope the Pfizer becoming FDA approved will change that.

“The best way that we can have a good school year, we can stay in school, is for everyone in the community to really consider getting vaccinated,” Lockard said. “Talk to your medical provider, get your information from a trusted source.”

Lockard said it is a situation that needs to become less political.

“Senator Mitch McConnell, Former President Donald Trump have both advocated that everyone should get vaccinated,” Lockard said. “So, I think that’s a very important endorsement of how effective the vaccines are.”

In the meantime, Lockard said everyone should follow the mandate.

“It’s the importance of wearing masks and getting vaccinated,” Lockard said. “If we’re indoors in a school setting, we all should be wearing masks.”

The initial post states that the days will not be NTI days, but will be made up later this year.

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