Several school districts report sharp increase in new COVID cases among students and faculty

School district officials are recommending parents get their children tested over the holidays.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- There have recently been five schools within the School District of Philadelphia placed on a 10-day pause, and one school put on a two-day pause, after several students and faculty members tested positive for COVID-19.

That essentially means they temporarily went virtual.

But, as of Tuesday, there is no plan for moving the entire district to virtual when winter break is over.

Still, school district officials are recommending parents get their children tested over the holidays.

"We will have all of our district sites, our testing sites, open over the holiday break and individuals can visit our website for where those sites are," said Monica Lewis, School District of Philadelphia spokesperson. "But we do encourage you to get tested over the break so you know your status when you return on the fourth."

LINK: School District of Philadelphiia's COVID testing website.

Philadelphia is not the only school district contending with his most recent wave of COVID-19.

Students at Harriton High School in Lower Merion have been given the option to move to virtual learning until the holiday break begins because of an outbreak there.

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All extracurricular activities this week have been suspended due to the outbreak.

Health officials have linked at least 18 cases at Harriton High School to several after-school activities.

"Their recommendation was for us to suspend the extracurricular activities at Harriton High School for this week until we can really get an idea, and a handle, on the scope of the outbreak there," said Lower Merion School District spokesperson Amy Buckman.

Over the last two weeks, the Downingtown Area School District has confirmed a sharp increase in new cases as well within its high schools.

But district spokesperson Jennifer Shealy says there is a silver lining.

"We don't have any plans to go virtual," she says. "Most of our cases are not epidemiologically linked, thankfully. Many of our cases are related to family cases at home at this point. So, we are not considering anything an outbreak at this point."
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