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Huntington East Middle School reopens after COVID-19 exposure

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 1:25 PM EDT
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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Huntington East Middle School opened back up Thursday after shutting down from COVID-19 exposure.

Two people tested positive at the school, causing it to shut down for two weeks.

“It really happened very, very fast,” said Assistant Principal Don Pennington.

Pennington got a call about a student testing positive for COVID-19 towards the end of a school day.

Faculty ran down every class the student had and found every classmate and teacher they came in contact with.

“And the big thing, it was towards the end of the day, kids were about to get on buses, kids were about to go to practices...” said Pennington.

In total, 134 people went into quarantine. That includes teachers, and with Milton Middle School going through the same situation, resources were limited.

“I think that will be an issue throughout the year is having enough substitutes when this does happen,” said Pennington.

The school decided to move to virtual learning as the students and teachers exposed stayed in quarantine.

Most parents were comfortable with the decision, but it didn’t make things any easier.

“It was extremely difficult,” said Lori Mudry, a parent of a middle school student. “She’s struggling. She loves school and she struggles to not come everyday and not having the routine.”

While the students were away, the custodians got to work. They wiped down every surface and installed dividers to further separate students.

Two weeks later, the doors at Huntington East Middle School are back open, and teachers are ready to see their students faces again.

Parents seem to be eager to get back to normal, too.

“I can go home and go to bed!” said Mudry.

Huntington East Middle School’s Principal says they’re moving to assigned seating for lunch to make it easier to contract trace.

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