By Bill Shields

SAUGUS (CBS) – In Saugus, students cannot learn in the classroom, but they can play sports. The school department recently gave winter sports the green light.

When COVID numbers spiked in Saugus, school officials decided to extend remote learning. The brand new high school and middle school would stay empty. But they said the numbers warranted it.

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“We had 95 positive school aged kids just in the last week alone,” said School Committee Chairman Tom Whitteredge. “And that’s just the ones that we know of.”

While classes are remote, the winter sports teams are playing, but following strict COVID protocols.

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“We’re running our own that we have adopted and again you’re talking a smaller population which is somewhat easier to control,” said Superintendent Dave DeRuosi.

Some parents have complained that if sports teams can play, then classes should be held in the new school. Officials say the sports venues can be socially distanced, but classes, not so much.

“It’s a 12,000 square foot gym with 50 or less people in there,” said Whitteredge. “The gym I believe holds 1,600 people total. So they’re spread out really, really good.”

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School officials said when COVID numbers start going down, they will consider bringing students back to school on a hybrid basis.

Bill Shields