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Five St. Mary's students test postive for COVID-19

Five sixth-grade students and one teacher at St. Mary’s School have tested positive for COVID-19, the school learned Friday.

The small Medford private school, which has been open to in-person instruction since Nov. 9, responded to the outbreak by closing the school to every student in grades six through eight for two weeks — until Feb. 1.

Jackson County Public Health is handling the contract tracing for the first outbreak at the school since it reopened to in-person instruction, according to St. Mary’s Principal Jim Meyer.

“It was just a small cluster of cases but we are acting with an abundance of caution,” Meyer said. “We work very closely with the health department, pretty much on a daily basis.”

Meyer said St. Mary’s, which has about 500 students in grades five through 12, was able to reopen months ago after being granted the wildfire waiver offered by the state. The school has followed all the Ready Schools, Safe Learners guidance offered by the Oregon Department of Education, including safety measures regarding screenings, face coverings and social distancing, Meyer added.

“We went above and beyond and it’s been a very successful reopening,” Meyer said.

The students sent home have returned to remote learning and will continue to complete school work online until their Feb. 1 return. No positive cases have been reported since Friday’s outbreak, Meyer said.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.