Waynesville High School and Waynesville Career Center's traditional students who were scheduled to attend class in-person during the 2020-2021 academic year will start school virtually on Aug. 25 after the district was notified that two Waynesville High School students have tested positive for COVID-19.

In an email Wednesday, Waynesville R-VI School District Communications Officer Marianne Ward, said the decision was made due to the large number of students who were potentially exposed to the two students, and after consulting with the Reopening Task Force and the Pulaski County Health Department.

Ward said the Waynesville School District in cooperation with the Pulaski County Health Department, has emailed parents of students who had close contact with the two students who tested positive for COVID-19.  

Students who came in close contact with the students will be in isolation for 14 days. The district is making arrangements for drive-up testing on Thursday for the students who had direct exposure to the positive cases. 

Ward said additional information on the drive-up testing opportunity would be released.

Waynesville High School and Waynesville Career Center students who were scheduled to begin school in person may obtain their Chromebooks and class-related materials on Friday and Monday, Aug. 24. Ward said details about the pickup schedules will be announced on or before Thursday. 

The district has canceled all high school sports practices and events until students return to the classroom. Waynesville Middle School practices and competitions will continue as scheduled. 

At this time, Waynesville High School students are projected to return to the classroom on Aug. 31. All traditional students in kindergarten through 8th grade will attend school in person as planned. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Waynesville R-VI School District Superintendent Brian Henry said, “Going virtual for students in grades 9-12 is an effort to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community. We are exercising an abundance of caution and meeting and exceeding recommendations.”