Prairie River Middle School temporarily closed due to COVID quarantines

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 2:13 PM CST
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MERRILL, Wis. (WSAW) - Merrill District Administrator John Sample said beginning Tuesday Prairie River Middle School will close due to the high number of COVID-19 quarantine cases affecting students and staff.

This makes four schools in the district that will be closed to in-person learning. While Merrill had plans in place for these situations, they were plans they didn’t think they would use as often as they have.

“A plan that we were hoping we wouldn’t have to use—but here we are,” Dr. Sample explained.

It’s a difficult situation, made more difficult today,

“We knew that the middle school numbers were climbing but it wasn’t until the reality of our weekend struck that we didn’t realize really how much those numbers really increased,” Dr. Sample said.

The closures have created a few logistical issues, which has required some creative thinking to work around.

“It being a very large district, at least from a landmass perspective, it’s tricky when it comes to transportation—student transportation,” Dr. Sample said.

Only two schools, the high school, and Maple Grove Charter School remain open. The district thought they would have one more tomorrow in Jefferson Elementary, but that return had to be delayed another week.

“We didn’t quite get to that cycle of having an increased number of people back in our buildings,” Dr. Sample said.

The district works hand-in-hand with the county, and those numbers aren’t showing positive signs.

“Really looking for those numbers to drop here countywide, and to enable our face-to-face instruction to allow for student achievement,” Dr. Sample said.

While it feels like blow after blow to no end----the end goal is still to come back in-person

“We’re all in this to see our students physically face-to-face. We’ll adapt, and we’ll continue to respond to events that are really outside of our control,” Dr. Sample said.

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