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MADISON TOWNSHIP -- Madison Comprehensive High School and Madison Middle School will be moving to remote learning for a one week due to an increase in general illness, COVID-related illness and staffing issues.

The remote learning period will begin Thursday and continue through Sept. 15. In-person classes will resume Sept. 16.

"It is our hope that the week of remote learning at the high school and middle school will allow staff and students time to recover from illness so we may continue to provide in-person learning," Supt. Rob Peterson wrote Tuesday in a letter to the district.

Peterson added that staffing issues and a difficulty finding substitutes contributed to the closure. He stated in his letter that administrators and teachers have been preparing students for the transition to remote learning.

"It is our goal to maximize in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year, however with the current increase in general illness and positive COVID-19 cases, we must make these adjustments to help keep our students, staff, and school community healthy and safe," he wrote.

Peterson told Richland Source last Thursday that the district had identified a total of 75 positive cases since the beginning of the school year. An additional five cases were reported Friday, followed by 33 reported cases over Labor Day weekend.

The district is also implementing additional protocols for quarantining exposed students. The protocols are effective immediately and will continue to be re-evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Any student identified as a household close contact must now quarantine, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms.

In addition, any student who has a close contact in the school setting must wear a mask at school during the duration of their period of quarantine. If the student is symptomatic, they must stay home from school.

Athletics and extracurricular activities will be allowed to continue during the period of remote learning. Peterson said the health and safety of the students, coaches and advisors involved will continue to be monitored on an activity-by-activity basis.

Meals will still be available to students during the remote learning period -- the district will release information on pick-up procedures for meals prior to Thursday.

Peterson said the district does not intend to have a period of remote learning at the elementary level -- but it will if necessary.

"I'd really like to avoid the elementary going remote because of the level of difficultly it presents to parents and young students," he said.

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Staff reporter focused on education and features. Clear Fork alumna. Always looking for a chance to practice my Spanish. You can reach me at katie.ellington@richlandsource.com