Elanco School District photo

The Eastern Lancaster County School District offices are inside Garden Spot High School, 669 E. Main St., New Holland.

Middle and high school students in the Eastern Lancaster County School District will learn virtually until Monday as the district deals with a surge in COVID-19 cases at the Garden Spot Secondary Campus.

The school district announced the move to virtual, beginning Wednesday, on its website Tuesday.

The announcement comes days after the superintendent, Bob Hollister, warned district families in a letter that parts of or the entire district may periodically shut down due to increasing COVID-19 cases.

Too many families, he said, are sending sick kids to school, causing infections to spread and exacerbating a faculty, staff and school bus driver shortage that has disrupted the school day as well as the ride to and from school.

According to Hollister's letter, published Friday, there were 81 active COVID-19 cases in the 3,000-student district, including 51 at the Garden Spot Secondary Campus. That number was the highest among Lancaster County school districts last week. 

Eastern Lancaster County is the only county school district to allow parents to exempt their children from the Pennsylvania Department of Health's school mask order without medical documentation. 

The alert posted on the district website Tuesday simply states the campus will switch to virtual from Wednesday to Monday "because of high COVID case counts and case patterns."

Hollister on Tuesday told LNP | LancasterOnline that he does not have an updated case count, and that the shut down follows guidance he received from the state Health Department late Monday based on last week's status. 

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