AMHERST COUNTY, Va. (WSET) — Amherst County Public Schools announced it has found nearly 200 active COVID-19 cases within the district and is moving to close all schools.
All schools will be closed for in-person and remote learning starting Sept. 3 through Sept. 13.
"Things are moving very quickly and decisions have to be made very quickly sometimes," Amherst County Superintendent Dr. Robert Arnold said. "As you know, last week we had to close our secondary school facilities because a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 entered a building without notifying staff and is the source of many positive cases that has led to an outbreak."
There will be no instruction for any students, no extracurricular activities and no meals will be provided during that time frame.
"We're going to have sick people," Arnold said. "We're not going to be able to provide equitable resources to all students."
Self-instruction plans will be provided for parents who wish to keep their students engaged in learning, school officials said.
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Arnold said the district tested more than 1,800 people across its campuses, almost 1,000 of which were students.
Testing results and contact tracing determined there are 198 active cases of COVID-19 in Amherst County Public Schools, and the district is still awaiting additional test results from the Virginia Department of Health.
According to Arnold, Amherst County Public Schools had just 100 COVID-19 cases over the entire 2020-2021 school year.
"Clearly, we have a major health issue in our community," Arnold said. "We have determined we cannot safely operate schools until Sept. 13."
School officials said anyone who has tested positive or inconclusive for COVID-19 will be notified, but all students and staff should act as if they have been exposed to the virus.
"With the Delta variant," Arnold said. "It is very, very contagious and it just ran through our schools so fast."
You can watch the news conference live on the ABC 13 Facebook page or at WSET.com.
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