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Bellefonte schools closed after positive COVID tests

BELLEFONTE — The Bellefonte Area Middle School and High School buildings were both closed on Friday after an individual at each school tested positive for COVID-19.

In a message to families, Bellefonte Interim Superintendent Tammie Burnaford said the district learned of the positives late Thursday evening. She did not identify whether the individuals who tested positive are students or employees, but said they are not related.

All four Bellefonte elementary schools remained opened on Friday.

According to the email, the district was going to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health on Friday. The DOH will be responsible for contact tracing and would make necessary notifications, Burnaford said in the email.

“But, out of an abundance of caution and following the guidelines listed on the Department of Health website, we are going to close just the middle school and the high school buildings tomorrow, so that deep cleaning can occur throughout both buildings for the next three days,” she said.

Friday was a remote learning day for students at BAMS and BAHS. At the start of the school year, each student was given a Chromebook for these exact circumstances.

These are the first known COVID-19 positives in Bellefonte schools. However, they are not the first school buildings in Centre County to close because of the deadly virus.

The State College Area School District was in remote learning for three weeks. From Sept. 7 through Sept. 25, SCASD was remote due to the skyrocketing amount of cases in Centre County. However, the district has since returned to in-person classes. Wingate Elementary in the Bald Eagle Area School District closed on Sept. 16 after an adult and a student tested positive. The school reopened on Sept. 28.

On Friday afternoon, Burnaford announced that schools would re-open on Monday.

“Barring no other cases or new pertinent information, the department of health informed us we may resume classes in all of our schools on Monday, Oct. 12 and activities and athletic events may continue,” she said in an email.

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