Editor's Note: This story has been updated.
LEXINGTON -- Lexington Local Schools will go remote starting next Sept. 7 due to an influx of illness and absences.
The district announced a two-week period of remote learning on its website Tuesday afternoon in a joint letter from Supt. Jeremy Secrist, Director of Nursing Paula Smith and Assistant Supt. Kevin Young.
"We have been honored to have your students back in our classrooms through our first three weeks of school," the letter stated. "Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in symptomatic students being sent home from school, and have an increase in general illnesses, and COVID-related illness and absences."
"Currently, we are allowing athletics and activities to continue, but the health of our students and coaches will be monitored daily."
The letter states that Lexington Local Schools will move to remote learning from Sept. 7 through Sept. 17 "due to staff health and a lack of substitutes."
In-person classes will resume on Monday, Sept. 20.
“We chose to go to remote learning beginning after Labor Day to ensure that parents had time to make accommodations for their children and to ensure teachers had time to prepare our students to be successful during those 9 days of instruction,” Secrist told Richland Source on Wednesday.
“Yes, we are concerned about continued spread, so we've asked parents to monitor their students' health and to allow any symptomatic students to stay home the rest of the week.”
According to the district website, there were two cases of COVID-19 at the high school, two at the junior high school, six at Central Elementary, five at Western Elementary and one at Eastern Elementary as of Aug. 30.
The announcement also stated that principals and teachers will begin discussing the remote learning plan with students in the coming days.
Lexington will also continue to provide meals to students during this period. More information on pick-up procedures will be made available later in the week.
"It is our hope that the two weeks of remote learning will allow staff, and students, time to recover from any illness so we may continue utilizing our great staff to provide in-person learning, safely transport your students, and continue to offer breakfast and lunch," the letter added.
Secrist said the district will continue discussing staff and student health and ways to ensure school can continue in person in the future.
“I know everyone would love for COVID to be over, but it isn't. It has evolved and we need to evolve with it to ensure we can properly educate our students and keep our staff and students healthy," he said.