SHELTON — Mohegan School and a group of about 50 Perry Hill School students will be on full distance learning beginning Wednesday.

Interim Superintendent Beth Smith said 10 positive COVID-19 tests among school community members in the past seven days has resulted in a growing number of staff and students quarantined.

As a result, Smith said Mohegan will be on full distance learning until Nov. 11.

“Mohegan staff will be reporting to work, unless they have already been informed to quarantine,” Smith said.

In addition, one dyad at Perry Hill Elementary School will be on full distance learning through Nov. 12, with in-building instruction resuming for this dyad the next day. Smith said Perry Hill Principal Lorraine Williams will communicate directly with those staff members and parents of affected students.

Smith said more than 50 staffers are out for various reasons, and the district, which began the school year undermanned in substitute teachers, has not been able to hire new substitutes.

“People are not interested due to COVID,” Smith said.

“It is important to note that this spread is happening out in the community and not in our schools,” Smith said. “I remind everyone to practice social distancing when out in the public, wear masks over the nose and mouth and practice good hand hygiene.”

Smith said this decision was made after consultation with the Naugatuck Valley Health Department, the district’s medical advisor and Central Office leadership.

The move came only hours after Smith informed parents and staff of two more positive tests — one at each Perry Hill School and Shelton High — which brings the district total to 23 since school resumed in September.

The last day the affected individuals were at Perry Hill and Shelton High School was Oct. 29, Smith said, and the district team, including Shelton public schools central office and building administration and school nurses, has been working closely with the Naugatuck Valley Health Department to identify anyone who had close contact with this individual to determine if they might have been exposed to the virus.

“This is our highest priority when a positive case has been identified and communicated to us,” Smith said. “At this time, contact tracing has been completed.”

If staff members or students are identified as having been in close contact with the positive individual, Smith said they have received an email or phone call from the Shelton Public Schools Nursing Department to indicate that the exposed staff member or student must quarantine for 14 days from their last day of contact with the infected person by staying home and monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms.

Free breakfast and lunch for students, regardless of whether they are attending in-person or distance learning, will continue to be available for pickup Monday through Friday between 9 and 11 a.m. at the Shelton High School bus loop.

In addition, for those families not able to pick up food during the daytime, food will be available for pickup on Tuesday and Thursday each week from 5 to 6 p.m. at the SHS bus loop. Parents are reminded to bring a bag to help transport the food.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com