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All McLoughlin Middle School students to resume campus learning

More than 300 students had been in virtual learning on Jan. 27 and 28 due to staffing shortages caused by the pandemic

As expected, all students at McLoughlin Middle School in Medford returned to in-person learning on Monday after “COVID-19 related issues” caused hundreds of them to spend part of last week in virtual instruction.

The decision, which impacted roughly 375 students, ended the Medford School District’s “largest scale closure,” since the time when all schools had to go into virtual learning at the start of the pandemic, Natalie Hurd, communications and community engagement director for the district, said Sunday.

“The McLoughlin leadership did a great job problem solving and communicating with staff and families about the targeted switch to at-home learning for some, and we’re grateful to be able to return to regular scheduling tomorrow for all students at MAC,” she wrote in a text message. “We know any sudden switch is difficult on students and families.”

School officials made the decision to return to return all McLoughlin students to the classroom only after they were able to confirm enough teachers were “feeling better” since being out sick, Hurd noted.

She went on to say that the district constantly tries to minimize the pandemic’s impact on students and families, but difficult decisions sometimes have to be made with the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

"We’re hoping that we’re seeing the top of the curve and cases are beginning to decrease,“ she wrote.

Families of McLoughlin student teams 81, 82 and 83 were notified by the school’s principal, Kalin Cross, in an online letter that they would go into virtual learning on Jan. 27 and 28 due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic. These circumstances included staffers who were either home taking care of a sick child, sick or exposed to COVID-19, all of which contributed to staffing shortages.

The affected teams of students were expected to complete coursework from home via the online program Canvas and record their attendance on Google Forms for their instructors.

Students not impacted by the decision on Thursday and Friday came to school as usual.

Cross reminded families to screen their children for COVID-19 symptoms and not let them go to school if they are sick.