Nantucket shifting to remote-learning for rest of week after spike in virus cases

Nantucket shifting to remote-learning for rest of week after spike in virus cases
A girl is pictured in front of a laptop for a day of virtual classes. (Photo: Ivan Radic/Flickr)

NANTUCKET, Mass. — Schools in Nantucket will shift to all-remote learning for the rest of the week after the island reported a record spike in COVID-19 cases over the past two days and over 81 cases in just the last week.

Superintendent Beth Hallett said in a message to parents and students that all cohorts scheduled for in-person learning would now be remote, and all school activities and sports events are canceled for the remainder of the week. School officials will meet with the Nantucket Department of Public Health, the school committee and town at the end of the week to determine if the suspension of in-person learning will be extended, Hallet said.

Nantucket Cottage Hospital said Wednesday that 46 positive cases were reported over the previous two days at the drive-thru testing site on the island. “This represents a significant spike in transmission of the virus on Nantucket, and we must take this situation extremely seriously,” the hospital said in a statement.

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The island reported 81 new cases over the past week, and the seven-day positivity rate for the island is 7.6%.

The hospital asked people to cooperate with contact tracers and follow quarantine guidelines if they’ve been identified as a close contact.

“Vaccines for COVID-19 are on the horizon and new therapeutics are rolling out, but the country and Nantucket are still experiencing significant transmission of the virus,” the statement said, “We ask everyone in the community to take personal responsibility and utilize the simple preventative measures we know will work to keep the island safe.”

On Wednesday, the state reported that the number of newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide jumped by more than 4,600 - a one-day record for Massachusetts.

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