At least five York County districts close schools Wednesday due to COVID-19

Erin Bamer
York Dispatch
A bus arrives at Dallastown Intermediate School as classes resumed in the district Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

At least five York County school districts closed a school Wednesday after seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. 

South Mountain Elementary in Northern York County, Fawn Area Elementary in South Eastern, Orendorf Elementary in Northeastern, Emory H. Markle Middle School in South Western and Shrewsbury Elementary in Southern York County all closed Wednesday, putting all students in remote instruction until the buildings reopen. South Mountain Elementary is scheduled to reopen Friday, while the other four schools are set to reopen Monday. 

The closures come in the wake of state officials relaxing safety guidelines for schools, shortening the recommended closure period to as little as two days for buildings in areas of substantial transmission. At least two local school districts, West York Area School District and West Shore School District, closed buildings over last weekend and reopened Monday as a result of the change.

More:West York, South Western temporarily close schools due to COVID-19

More:Pa. Department of Education updates guidance to allow more in-person learning

Including the five elementary schools, nine York County schools have closed because of COVID-19 since Monday. West York Area High School and Wallace Elementary with the West York Area School District and Weigelstown Elementary with the Dover Area School District will reopen Thursday. South Western High School closed Tuesday and the district plans to reopen the building Monday. 

Emory H. Markle Middle School is in the South Western School District, making this the second closure for the district this week. The district's COVID-19 dashboard shows the middle school has recorded five confirmed cases in the last 14 days, while the high school has recorded 11 cases. 

The recent closures are not the first shutdowns for several other districts. Northern York County School District has closed multiple schools in the last two months, including South Mountain Elementary two other times. The district has also closed Wellsville Elementary twice, as well as its high school, Northern Elementary and Dillsburg Elementary once since March. 

South Mountain Elementary recorded two COVID-19 cases in the past 14 days, prompting the closure. According to an announcement Tuesday, the district has also recorded two new cases linked to the high school and one new case linked to the middle school, but both schools remained open as of Wednesday. 

Northeastern School District has also closed Orendorf Elementary due to COVID-19 in February, and since then has closed several other schools, including York Haven Elementary, Conewago Elementary and Spring Forge Intermediate. 

According to the district's COVID-19 dashboard, Orendorf Elementary has recorded four cases in the past 14 days. The district's middle school, high school and Mount Wolf Elementary have each recorded two cases, while Spring Forge Intermediate has recorded one case. 

This is the first recent school closure for both Southern York County and South Eastern school districts.

Shrewsbury Elementary recorded five cases linked to the building in the past 14 days, according to Southern York County's COVID-19 dashboard.

Susquehannock High School has recorded six cases in this period, while Southern Middle School and Friendship Elementary have each recorded one case. All three schools remained open as of Wednesday. 

South Eastern's COVID-19 dashboard shows Fawn Area Elementary has recorded four cases in the last 14 days. South Eastern Middle School has also recorded four cases, while Kennard-Dale High School has recorded two cases and Stewartstown Elementary has recorded one case.

All district buildings aside from Fawn Area Elementary remain open, according to a district announcement Tuesday.