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Reporting on the state of education in your community and across the country.

COVID Closes Willoughby-Eastlake Schools, Students Back To Remote Learning

Willoughby-Eastlake school buildings are closed after COVID-19 exposure in three different buildings. [Gayle S. Putrich / ideastream]
Longfellow Elementary School in Eastlake, Ohio

The Willoughby-Eastlake School District closed all of its school buildings and shifted its students to remote learning Monday.

In a letter to families over the weekend, Superintendent Steve Thompson said the district had learned of COVID-19 exposures at Longfellow Elementary School and Jefferson Elementary School.

“These direct exposures have impacted several staff members and students in multiple classrooms in both buildings,” according to the letter, adding that because a third building was also closed, the district is following its COVID-19 safety guidelines and moved all students to remote learning as of Oct. 12.

All extracurricular activities have been suspended and the remote learning period will continue indefinitely.

According to the district’s dashboard, there are six active COVID-19 cases among students, meaning they have been confirmed or presumed positive and are in isolation. 

Families were told that the Willoughby-Eastlake School District would not release the identities of the individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus. But the letter added that close contacts of those individuals who tested positive would be contacted by the Lake County General Health District.

Families will get updates from school principals regarding the transition to virtual learning for all “brick and mortar’ students.

Lunch distribution will continue and families were told they would receive more information regarding meal pick-ups soon.

When students first returned to class for the fall learning period Aug. 31 at Willoughby-Eastlake, parents had a choice between the all in-person and remote models. At the time, Superintendent Steve Thompson told ideastream that the quarantine policy at the district would be stringently enforced.

“If one or more students in an elementary, self-contained class are exposed, then that class is quarantined for 14 days to include the teacher. They would flip to remote learning” Thompson said. “If two or more students are COVID positive in an elementary school in different classrooms, then the entire school would be quarantined for 14 days and go remote.”

Thompson also said he’d ben up-front with parents that student won’t always be socially distanced and the district must have contingency plans in place. 

Willoughby-Eastlake School District did not respond to ideastream’s request for an interview Monday.


Jenny Hamel is the host of the “Sound of Ideas.”