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Rim Country Middle School is returning to online only learning Monday after the district learned Friday one student had tested positive for COVID-19.

A Julia Randall Elementary School student also tested positive, but only students and staff that have had close contact with that student are being asked to quarantine.

After learning that two students had tested positive Friday afternoon, Superintendent Linda Gibson said she consulted with the Gila County Health Department and they made the following decisions to address the health and safety of PUSD:

● Students and staff who have been identified as being in close contact at JRE are being notified and asked to quarantine with a Monday, November 30 return date.

● Because of the high number of students in close contacts at RCMS, the school is returning to distance learning for all students and staff at RCMS for the week of November 16-20 with a scheduled date to return of Monday, Nov. 30 (after the Thanksgiving break).

● All other school sites and classes will continue as scheduled.

"I know that this may pose many questions and concerns, and we are here to listen and provide answers as best as possible," Gibson wrote a press release. "Thank you for your patience and for trusting PUSD."

Josh Beck, Gila County Public Health Emergency Preparedness manager, said they are still gathering details on the students infected.

He said they decided not to put all of JRE back online because in the lower grades students do not change classes. Only those classes that were impacted will be asked to quarantine.

"In the upper grades where children transition between classes, we also only quarantine the classes the students were in; however, sometimes that turns out to be the majority of a school. This seems to be the case for Rim Country Middle School."

Contact the editor at abechman@payson.com

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