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story.lead_photo.caption Blair Oaks High School in Wardsville

The fifth-grade class in the Blair Oaks R-2 School District switched to virtual learning Thursday as about 30 of the 75 fifth-grade students are under quarantine, according to the district.

After consultation with the Cole County Health Department, the district decided to switch to virtual learning after four fifth-grade students tested positive for COVID-19 in the last five days, according to a document on the district's website, In-person learning will resume Oct. 26.

None of the fifth-grade teachers are quarantined, so they are teaching in the classrooms while the students are learning virtually from home, Superintendent Jim Jones said. There are four fifth-grade teachers and classes.

"We're trying to figure out the best method to most efficiently and effectively instruct the most in the best manner possible, and at this point, virtual learning is the best option, and we're going to learn a lot in case we need to do it in other grades," Jones said.

There are not currently any concerns or considerations for other grades in the building to switch to virtual learning, Jones said.

Blair Oaks elementary and high schools are in the "green zone," meaning there are low numbers of active COVID-19 cases, but Blair Oaks Middle School is in the "yellow zone," meaning it has moderate community spread or positive cases, according to the district's website.

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The district also reported a sixth-grade student and a 12th-grade student tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. The sixth-grade student was not at school Tuesday or Wednesday, and eight students were identified as close contacts by the Cole County Health Department and will be placed on quarantine.

The 12th-grade student was administered a rapid test, and two students were identified as close contacts and will be placed on quarantine.

"We will work in conjunction with the health department on the re-entry of the student and any others identified as close contacts into the community and school environment," the document on the website states. "Please keep in mind that the identity of the individuals will remain anonymous."

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