PEABODY — Peabody High School students will learn remotely until at least Tuesday, Jan. 19, after the school saw a surge in the number of staff and students coming in contact with COVID-19.

“The staff and students at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School have been impacted with more frequency than any other school in our district,” Superintendent Josh Vadala said in a letter to the community.

He added, “I have previously stated that we will remain committed to our hybrid learning model until we have evidence (of) in-school transmission or if we are unable to safely supervise our students in-school. Unfortunately, PVMHS has reached a critical point where the number of staff needing to quarantine due to positive cases or being close contacts prohibits our ability to effectively remain in an in-person learning model.”

Since Dec. 1, 90 students and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, and an additional 121 people have had to quarantine after being exposed to the virus.

All other Peabody public schools will remain in their current hybrid model, Vadala said in the letter.

Vadala said because the school does not have any conclusive evidence that there is in-school transmission of the virus, winter sports will continue to practice and play games as scheduled. Out-of-season practices are postponed until Jan. 19.

Vadala said the majority of positive cases appear to be the result of household exposure and exposure during social gatherings. He encouraged community members to continue wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing in order to combat the spread of the disease.

“We will continue to closely monitor this situation as we navigate the challenges and complexities of COVID-19 together,” he said. “Please be assured that the health, welfare, and safety of our school community will remain paramount.”

Staff writer Erin Nolan can be reached at 978-338-2534, by email at or on Twitter at @erin_nolan_. 

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