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JONESVILLE — Rising COVID-19 cases in Lee County have led county school officials to go to all-remote learning until the end of November.

Lee County Schools Superintendent Brian Austin on Monday announced that the division will switch to all- remote classes starting Wednesday, with teachers and classes meeting Tuesday to prepare for the switchover.

“The change is being made in an abundance of caution due to challenges related to staffing and operating several schools and an overall increase in positive and probable cases and related quarantines in Lee County,” Austin said in a release Monday.

The division has been operating with in-person classes in all grades from kindergarten to 12th on a four-day school week with Fridays off for administrative duties and deep cleaning of schools.

Parents have had the option of keeping their students in remote learning since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.

Austin said that the switch to remote classes will have a reduced impact because of Thanksgiving vacation on Nov. 26-27, meaning that school buildings will be closed to students for only five days. In-person classes will resume on Monday, Nov. 30.

The county school board in September approved a week-long reversion to remote-only classes after reported cases in at least one county school before returning to a four-day in-person school week

Since late September, Austin has issued 21 letters to parents informing them of student or staff cases at several county elementary, middle and high schools. Schools remained open during that period as LENOWISCO Health District and school system personnel assisted with contact tracing.

Lee County has seen its COVID-19 pandemic case and death totals more than triple from 210 cases and three deaths on Sept. 1 to 744 cases and 11 deaths in the Virginia Department of Health COVID-19 data report on Monday.

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