LICKING COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — Due to an increase of COVID-19 cases among students, Licking Valley High School will transition to remote learning, beginning tomorrow.

According to Licking Valley Local School District Superintendent David Hile, 28 high school students have tested positive for the virus since the beginning of the school year, on August 19. By the end of the day on Tuesday, Hile said 275 students would be in quarantine. That equates to nearly 46% of the student population.

“We have students who have underlying health conditions,” said Hile. “We have students who are immunocompromised. We have family members of those students who have those conditions as well, and we can’t just allow the virus to rip through our schools and through our community.”

Currently, facemasks are optional within the school district, but Hile said that policy may change.

“It certainly could,” he said. “We are going to do whatever we need to do to keep kids in school. If we have to go back to everybody wearing a mask, we will do that.”

NBC4 spoke with Hile one day after Wes Weaver, the high school’s principal, sent a letter to parents stating 26 students had tested positive for the virus, with symptoms. Of the nearly 200 in quarantine at the time, Weaver wrote several were experiencing symptoms, as well.

“We plan to re-evaluate our situation next week, after we get a clearer picture of numbers of new positive cases from the health department,” the letter reads.

Licking County Health Commissioner Chad Brown said this situation stresses the importance of those who are eligible getting vaccinated.

“The vaccine’s readily available throughout the county,” Brown said. “Pharmacies throughout the county have it. We have it. It’s walk-in — no need to schedule an appointment, just come on in, get it and you’re right back out.” Extracurricular activities at Licking Valley High School will continue, according to Weaver. The remote learning will last through September 10.