JEFFERSON — Jefferson High School returned to online classes starting Wednesday.

School District of Jefferson Superintendent Mark Rollefson said in a letter to parents Tuesday that students will be taught virtually through Friday, Nov. 20.

“A combination of positive COVID tests, exposures, staff absences (largely due to COVID) and difficulty

securing enough substitutes has once again forced our hand to move JHS to a virtual environment,” he said, noting that the district plans to return to face-to-face instruction with a virtual option beginning on Monday, Nov. 23.

“The district realizes that the Nov. 23 return date provides for only two days of instruction prior to Thanksgiving vacation. We also realize that if the COVID numbers, staff availability and the substitute teacher situation provides for a return to instruction, a shortened week may be best for students and staff,” Rollefson said.

The district will continue to monitor the numbers over the upcoming days and weeks, he added.

“On behalf of the district, I am sorry for the rollercoaster ride you all are experiencing,” the superintendent wrote. “If I could wish it

away, I would indeed do so. The hard work of our staff, cooperation of our parents and community and resilience of our students is what makes things work.”

He said that now that the district has about 10 weeks of data to analyze, the absolute vast majority of positive COVID cases, as well as exposures, are occurring outside the walls of the high school.

“The desire to keep our students and staff in school is very clear from so many staff, students, and parents which have communicated as such,” Rollefson said. “This desire is overwhelmingly evident. As such, I plea for greater focus regarding social behaviors outside of school so that normalcy in school has a greater chance.”

He emphasized that this decision for virtual is for the high school only. The other four buildings — Jefferson Middle School and East, West and Sullivan elementary schools — continue, for now, to remain face-to-face with a virtual option.

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