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Contact Tracing Limitations Push Sonora High To Distance Learning

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Sonora, CA — Citing the growth of COVID-19 cases, and the related impact on the public health department’s inability to provide timely notifications, Sonora High will be moving to a distance learning model.

The decision by the county’s largest school district was made at a special board meeting last night. Superintendent Ed Pelfrery says distance only instruction will begin tomorrow (Thursday) and continue at least through the end of the calendar year.

The county was placed in the purple tier this week due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, and the rapid increase has forced the public health department to transition towards a mitigation strategy instead of containment.

Pelfrey says the district staff and students have done a good job of maintaining masking, distancing, and cleaning protocols established to have in-person instruction to this point. However, he says the current demands on the Tuolumne County Public Health Department have overburdened their ability to conduct contact tracing and provide timely notification to the district of students and staff who have tested positive, or been quarantined.

We reported earlier that the district has had some staff and students test positive in recent weeks. The change to distance learning was approved with a 5-0 vote.