ST. JOHNS — St. Johns Unified School District (SJUSD) learned that approximately 100 high school students may have been exposed to coronavirus, causing the district to cancel school, Friday, Oct. 23. All homecoming events including the football game have been postponed.

St. Johns USD logo

It is possible that the district will cancel all in-person classes next week throughout the district, according to a press release issued by the district late Thursday.

The discovery occurred Thursday afternoon but the actual exposure is believed to have occurred at the seminary building across the street from St. John’s High School, Tuesday, Oct. 20. Since many high school students and those that attend seminary also have siblings in the junior high or elementary schools, in-person classes may be cancelled district-wide.

“Five individuals were guest teachers that day,” states the release. “At that time they were all symptom free. On Wednesday, an individual who lives with the five guest teachers tested positive for the virus. Those five individuals have now developed COVID-19 like symptoms but have not been tested.”

The St. Johns High School football team was scheduled to host Miami High School Friday. The Miami Unified School District #40 has been notified of the game cancellation and potential for exposure, as per protocol.

“... there is a real concern that with over 100 students having been exposed to people who have since become ill, that there is a potential for the virus to spread among our student body and community,” stated the press release in regard to their decision to cancel school on Friday.

The district will notify all St. Johns school district families Saturday evening whether school will be in-person or online on Monday, Oct. 26.

Parents or guardians that have questions are encouraged to contact their school’s principal or the superintendent’s office.

Blue Ridge USD reports 2 cases

Blue Ridge Unified School District issued a press release Friday morning announcing that two Blue Ridge students, (one former and one current), tested positive for COVID-19.

“Notably, neither has attended school or any school-related activity for more than a week in advance of testing positive,” stated the press release. “As in all such cases, we cooperate fully with Navajo County health officials to ensure all reported incidents are thoroughly researched and investigated.”

BRUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael L. Wright emphasized that the cases are not considered an outbreak.

“The two students are related. Therefore the incident is not considered an outbreak,” stated Wright in a follow-up communication to the announcement.

Mask-wearing and personal hygiene, coupled with physical distancing steps, will continue at all Blue Ridge school-related activities for as long as the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends such measures confirmed Wright.

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Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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