Norwich public schools, Norwich Free Academy to shift to online learning for 2 weeks as cases spike across city

Norwich public schools and Norwich Free Academy will shift to online-only learning for two weeks as public health officials try to combat a surge in COVID-19 cases in the city.

All public and Free Academy students will begin remote learning Friday and will not return to hybrid until Oct. 19 at the earliest, only if health metrics improve, school officials said.

It does not appear transmission has occurred at any Norwich schools as cases have spiked across age groups, demographics and neighborhoods, public health and school officials said. The shift to remote learning is only a precaution as officials look to stem the spread throughout the city.

“The transmission that we know of is not occurring within the schools, it is community spread, but we know public schools can be an avenue for transmission so we want to be as proactive and safe as possible,” public schools Superintendent Kristen Stringfellow said. “In that spirit, we’re going to remove to remote learning temporarily.”

Three public schools have had either students or staff test positive for COVID-19, but those cases have been contained through quarantining and contact tracing, Stringfellow said.

In several cases, public school and Free Academy students who learn exclusively remotely this semester have tested positive for the virus, school officials said, further indicating the spread is occurring outside of schools and throughout the entire community.

Zach Murdock can be reached at [email protected]

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