SHELTON — The high school and intermediate school began full distance learning Tuesday after an individual at each school tested positive for COVID-19.

The schools will be on full distance learning through Oct. 22, according to interim Superintendent Beth Smith, because of the number of staffers at each school who must be quarantined as a result of the positive tests.

Smith announced Oct. 9 that two more individuals at Shelton Intermediate School and one more at Shelton High were found to have tested positive for COVID-19. The tests came after another positive test — a school community member at Perry Hill School — was also announced Oct. 9, but that school remains open.

"The Naugatuck Valley Health Department is in the process of contact tracing and will notify any individuals who have had contact with (those) who tested positive,” Smith said, referring to all positive tests in the district. “The individuals were last at their respective school on Thursday, Oct. 8.”

Smith said that 19 staffers overall — six at Perry Hill School, eight at Shelton High and five at Shelton Intermediate — are under quarantine after the respective community members were announced to have tested positive.

Smith said the high school and intermediate school went to distance learning because administrators had already planned to use substitutes at Perry Hill School before learning of the situation at the upper level schools later in the day.

“Prior to (Oct. 9), the district was short 11 building substitutes,” Smith said. “Some left for full-time positions. In this time of COVID, it is difficult to hire substitutes. We also have some that have to quarantine.”

Both schools will reopen in the hybrid model on Oct. 23, Smith said.

PSATs at Shelton High School will be postponed, Smith said, adding that, during full distance learning, athletics including practices and games will continue, unless a student athlete or coach has been contacted to quarantine.

“The health and well being of our students, staff, parents and the community remains our top priority,” Smith said.

“I thank the members of the central office, Perry Hill, SIS and SHS administrative teams who assisted with the school contact tracing this weekend,” Smith said Monday evening.

She said she applauded the efforts of all lthose who helped make staff and parent calls. Follow up calls will be made by the Naugatuck Valley Health Department.

The positive test at Perry Hill School was the second for the building in the past week and the eighth overall in the district in the past week alone.

“It is not necessary to close the school at this time,” Smith said of Perry Hill School. “The individual was last at the school on Tuesday, Oct. 6.”

Smith said the district is currently working with state and local health officials, and all procedures and protocols are being and will continue to be followed.

Smith said that the district currently is not identifying if the affected person was a staff member, employee or student.

Since school opened Sept. 8, Smith said there have been a total 10 individuals, identified simply as “members of the school community,” who have tested positive.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com