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Beatrice elementary school switches to remote learning after cluster of COVID-19 cases

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Lincoln Elementary exterior

Lincoln Elementary School

BEATRICE -- After tests revealed more COVID-19 cases, Lincoln Elementary School in Beatrice will move to remote learning starting Wednesday.

Remote learning will be in place at the school on the east side of Beatrice until at least early September.

The school district was first contacted by Public Health Solutions Friday evening about a confirmed case at Lincoln Elementary. Since then, more staff members in the district have tested positive for COVID-19.

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There are roughly 230 students currently enrolled at Lincoln Elementary. Superintendent Jason Alexander said some students have been tested for COVID-19 since Friday, but that no results have been reported yet.

Alexander said he speculated that a COVID-19 case in a school was inevitable, but how far and quickly it would spread was unknown.

“Now we know we do have positive cases within the district, so it’s important to stay on top of them and work in collaboration with our health care providers to make sure that we approach it the correct way,” Alexander said.

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Parents were notified Tuesday that all other buildings in the district will remain open with in-person attendance.

Due to the possibility of more COVID-19 cases, Beatrice Public Schools will require the use of face covering effective immediately.

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“It’s a decision that I think speaks out of concern for our students and our staff members, that it’s in the best interest of everyone,” Alexander said. “When Lincoln reopens, we will make an evaluation at that time as to how many cases we have, and then we will determine whether or not we can go back to opt out or everybody wearing masks.”

Alexander said Lincoln’s return date of Sept. 2 follows the 14-day quarantine suggestion recommended by the local health department. That date could be extended, however, as Alexander said a contact tracing investigation is underway.

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Still recovering, Sarah Michael-Rush  doesn’t think people here take COVID-19 seriously enough.

“Most places in Kearney require a mask, but anywhere masks aren’t required, not a lot of people are wearing them,” she said. “Walmart requires them, but I was in there the other day and I counted five people walking around without them. I wanted to go up and say to them, ‘I’ve had this. You don’t want it.’”

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