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South Mountain Elementary, Highland Elementary closed temporarily due to COVID-19

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
A school bus is parked with the rest of the buses at their terminal, Friday, July 10, 2020, in Zelienople, Pa. Pennsylvania schools are working on how they will safely transport students this fall, but one idea that won't be part of the plan is to install plastic barriers around school bus drivers. The state Transportation Department rejected that idea recently, saying there wasn't evidence it'll make anyone safer. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Two local elementary schools, South Mountain and Highland, are closed early this week because of an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

South Mountain Elementary, part of the Northern York County School District, recorded three recent cases. The school is closed Monday and Tuesday, and will reopen Wednesday. 

Highland Elementary, in the West Shore School District, recorded two recent cases. The building is closed Monday and will reopen Tuesday.

It is not the first time either school district has closed a school this month because of COVID-19. West Shore closed Newberry Elementary on Friday after recording two cases. South Mountain Elementary had been closed the previous Monday, making this the second time in as many weeks the school has closed temporarily. 

More:Schools in Spring Grove, Northern York County closed Monday due to COVID-19

More:Newberry Elementary closed Friday due to COVID-19

Because of the recent closure at South Mountain, district officials extended the closure to four days instead of three, according to Superintendent Steven Kirkpatrick. The closure was announced Friday and took effect Saturday. 

South Mountain's previous closure took place from March 6 to March 8, mostly over the weekend, after the school recorded three COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period. During the closure, the district recorded two additional cases at the school, but officials did not extend the closure. Overall, South Mountain has had eight documented COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days. 

West Shore has 12 recorded cases in the past 14 days across its 14 schools. Some schools have recorded more cases than Highland, but because they are bigger buildings they do not require a closure under state guidance. 

According to state regulations that both Northern York County and West Shore agreed to follow last year, two cases within a 14-day period is enough to warrant a temporary closure for school buildings with fewer than 500 students.