Lebanon schools closing due to increased student absences from COVID-19

Lebanon City Schools will close for three days starting Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 due to high student absences due to COVID-19 and other illnesses. The district is experiencing a 20% absences rate, well above the typical 5% absence rate for a normal school day, and hopes by next week those numbers will go down to resume in-person learning. FILE PHOTO
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Lebanon City Schools will close for three days starting Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 due to high student absences due to COVID-19 and other illnesses. The district is experiencing a 20% absences rate, well above the typical 5% absence rate for a normal school day, and hopes by next week those numbers will go down to resume in-person learning. FILE PHOTO

Lebanon City Schools will be closed for three days starting Wednesday to try reduce the student absence rate due to COVID-19, school exposures, quarantined students and other related illnesses.

Superintendent Isaac Seevers said more than 900 students were out of school Monday due to COVID-19 protocols such as being in quarantine or isolation. School was in session on Tuesday because the district felt there was not enough notice for parents to make child care arrangements, he said.

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“As of Monday, the district had 80 positive COVID-19 cases,” Seevers said. “The COVID positive cases has gone up over the last four days. With the amount of absences, we cannot effectively educate students.”

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He said the district reported a 20% total student absence rate as of Monday. The district typically has a 5% to 6% student absence rate a day.

Seevers said pausing for three days will allow students to get caught up. During the three-day closure, teachers will not be assigning new work for students, according to the district’s website.

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He said when school resumes on Tuesday, most of the students will have completed being in quarantine and can return to classes. Masks will be required for all students for three weeks when school returns to in-person learning. The district, which had been mask optional, said it would re-evaluate the matter in three weeks.

The Lebanon school board met Monday and approved Seevers’ recommendation to close the schools for three days. While the district’s buildings will be closed, its transportation services will continue for students attending the Warren County Career Center, the Warren County Learning Center, private/parochial schools and other facilities.

Seevers told the board that the Warren County Health District epidemiologist is concerned about the level of spread the district is experiencing in its facilities. He said they have recommended that the district take action to slow the rate of quarantines.