SHELTON -— Four more school community members — three at Sunnyside School, one at Long Hill School — were reported Wednesday to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Interim Superintendent Beth Smith informed parents and staff of the positive tests, which now stand at 63 district-wide — 16 in the last three days alone — since the schools reopened in September.

The recent spike in cases — and massive numbers of quarantined staffers — forced the district to send all students to remote instruction on Nov. 11. Students will stay on distance learning until at least Jan. 1.

“As the number of positive cases continue, we believe we have begun to see spread of COVID-19 among staff members,” Smith said. “This has led to increased staff on isolation and in quarantine.”

Smith said that, because there are staff members who work in close proximity with each other and tested positive, even when following mitigation strategies, “we believe there may have been spread in the schools.”

“It is a reminder how rapidly this virus can spread and a reminder to ensure proper hand hygiene, a minimum of 6 feet of social distancing and wearing a mask over the nose and mouth at all times,” Smith added.

The last days the affected individuals were at Sunnyside School were Nov. 10, 13 and 17. The last day the affected individual was at Long Hill School was Nov. 12. No contact tracing was necessary for Sunnyside and Long Hill schools.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com