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UPDATE: Murtaugh switches some classes to online only after students test positive for COVID-19
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UPDATE: Murtaugh switches some classes to online only after students test positive for COVID-19

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Murtaugh High School

Murtaugh High School

MURTAUGH — As the number of students with COVID-19 begins to rise, most Magic Valley schools have stayed the course on keeping in-person classes, but that changes next week for Murtaugh students.

The Murtaugh School District said Thursday evening that four additional students have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Two students tested positive last week.

In response, the school district will not allow any fans at the football game Friday night against Rockland and classes at the combined junior/senior high school will be held online instead of in person, the district said in a message to parents.

Classes will still be held Friday for all grades and elementary classes and remain in person next week also.

On Wednesday, the Minidoka County School District announced that a Minico High School student tested positive for COVID-19. The district responded with a call for everyone to remain calm, respectful and empathetic to those affected while the district seeks guidance from the health department.

In a letter addressed to parents, staff and the community, Superintendent James Ramsey said the district received notification on Wednesday about the student.

“While we must protect the privacy of the person involved, we believe it is best to communicate transparently with you so you can make well-informed decisions for your family,” the letter reads.

The district has contacted South Central Public Health District for guidance in addressing the situation.

In the Cassia County School District there have been two positive COVID-19 cases since Aug. 24, district spokesperson Debbie Critchfield said. She did not indicate if they were students or staff. Both have since recovered.

The Jerome Joint School District has had no positive cases since the start of school, Superintendent Dale Layne said. The district had one staff member test positive prior to the start of school.

Twin Falls School District spokesperson Eva Craner said the district has had 22 positive cases, comprised of students and staff, so far this year. Some of those have recovered and are back in school. On Thursday there were 10 students out of school due to positive tests across the district.

The South Central Public Health District on Thursday released its updated county risk assessment for COVID-19. Cassia County moved from the moderate to minimal risk category, where Blaine and Lincoln counties remain. Camas County moved from the minimal risk category to the moderate risk category, where Gooding, Jerome, Minidoka and Twin Falls counties remain.

Cassia and Minidoka counties were both in the high risk category when the first set of assessments was released Aug. 13. The risk categories are updated every two weeks.

The virus is transmitted by through person-to-person contact and through the exchange of respiratory droplets.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If anyone experiences these symptoms they should contact medical help.

“Our greatest priority is the safety of our students, staff and community members. It is important to remember that children are greatly influenced by the reactions of adults when facing difficult circumstances. I encourage everyone to remain calm and to be empathetic and respectful to those affected,” the letter from the Minidoka superintendent said.

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