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Highland Local Schools move to hybrid learning model after student-athletes test positive for COVID-19

District changes course to better protect students

MORROW COUNTY, Ohio — Whether students are heading back to school virtually or in-person, it is safe to say this year will be unlike any other.  

10TV spoke with superintendents across central Ohio about their back-to-school plans and how they are adjusting to the rolling changes that have come with the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Highland Local Schools is located in Morrow County, which currently sits in the yellow on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map

Because of that, Nathan Huffman, the district's superintendent, had planned on students heading back to class 100 percent in-person to begin the school year on September 8. 

Recent events, however, have changed those plans. 

Within the last week, four Highland Local student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 and many other students and families quarantined, Huffman said in an emailed statement.  

"After working with the health department, the concern is having positive cases when school starts and needing to close due to the high number of contact tracing," he said. "I want kids in school every day, however, a hybrid schedule increases our chances of staying open. We need to do everything possible to avoid a full closure." 

While Morrow County remains in the yellow, most of its surrounding counties are in the orange and even the red, but Huffman tells 10TV that right now, he is focused on their community.  

"At the end of the day, the decisions that we have to make here, we have to do in terms of what's best for the students and families at Highland, you know. We are very interested in what all the neighboring districts and what is going on in the state but ultimately, I do have to make decisions on what's best for the students right here," Huffman said.