By Staff

BARNSTABLE (CBS) — Massachusetts is aiming to return to full-time, in-person classroom learning over the next few weeks. But in Barnstable, a rising number of coronavirus cases is forcing all schools to go remote this Thursday and Friday, the superintendent said Wednesday.

Supt. Meg Mayo-Brown said Barnstable has the highest average daily rate of COVID cases and highest percent positivity rate among towns in Massachusetts. Last week there were 45 cases across nine schools in town, and just this Monday and Tuesday 28 more cases were identified.

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“The DPH data indicates that there is community spread in Barnstable,” she said. “Our BPS data indicates that the community spread of COVID is negatively impacting our schools.”

There are 60 staff and students in isolation with the coronavirus, and 260 staff and students in quarantine because they are listed as close contacts, Mayo-Brown said.

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Parents and guardians should look for an email Sunday afternoon about whether in-person learning will resume Monday, she said.

Elementary schools in Massachusetts will be required to have “full-time, in-person instruction five days per week” starting Monday, April 5. Middle schools will have to do the same by Wednesday, April 28. A date has not been set yet for high schools.

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“It is disappointing and disheartening to make this announcement at this time,” Mayo-Brown said. “As the Commonwealth is advancing reopening efforts, we find ourselves taking a step back due to community spread of COVID.” Staff