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Bald Eagle Area is the latest Centre County school to close

WINGATE — In Centre County, the dominoes continue to fall.

On Friday afternoon, the Bald Eagle Area School District announced that it was immediately switching to fully remote learning. Schools are scheduled to re-open on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Bald Eagle Area joins Penn Valley and State College Area as schools that have gone to remote learning. Only Bellefonte and Philipsburg-Osceola are continuing with in-class instruction — for now.

“We have another confirmed COVID-19 case at the high school. I am also in the process of confirming a case with one of our bus drivers. With this most recent case, over 100 students are now quarantined between the MS/HS alone. Due to the number of affected students and staff district-wide, I am closing schools at the end of today and they will reopen Tuesday, Dec. 1, except for those students who are still quarantined on Dec. 1,” the statement from BEA superintendent Scott Graham said.

The statement said that students will begin remote learning on Monday, Nov. 23 and Tuesday, Nov. 24, prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. According to Graham, students will be “bringing home a computer and materials in order to work from home.” He urged parents with questions to contact their children’s school.

Additionally, BEA has canceled all extracurricular activities — including sports — until schools reopen on Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Graham told parents that if their “child becomes ill and tests positive over Thanksgiving break” to email him.

“Hopefully this is a short-term closure and we will be back to in-person learning on December 1,” Graham said.

In Centre County, there were 91 new cases reported on Friday. That brings the county’s total to 5,502, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The county also had 679 new negative test results. It has now had 43,179 negative tests.

BEA’s closure comes even as Centre County’s positivity rate for the past week was 6.4 percent, fifth lowest in the state and down from 8.4 percent from the previous week, according to DOH’s updated early-warning monitoring dashboard. The statewide positivity rate for the last seven days was 11.1 percent.

Mount Nittany Medical Center has 27 COVID-19 inpatients — ages 31 to 94 — as of Friday. In less than three weeks, the hospital has admitted 70 COVID-positive patients and has had an average of 18 COVID-19 inpatients per day. During the entire month of October, there were a total of 58 COVID-19 patients admitted and an average of 11 COVID-19 inpatients per day. In September, just 16 COVID-19 patients were admitted for the entire month.

A lot of the spread in Centre County can be attributed to nursing and personal care homes. Centre County nursing and personal care homes reported seven new positives among residents and seven. A total of 13 long-term care facilities in the county have had a combined 304 resident cases and 69 employee cases.

According to DOH data, there have been a total of 33 COVID-19 deaths among Centre County residents since the start of the pandemic. The county coroner’s office has confirmed those 33 deaths. Those who died ranged in age from 62 to 104.

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