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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — The Jackson County Health Department is strongly recommending that county school districts delay the start of classes until after Labor Day.

And when they do resume, health officials are urging them to utilize remote learning — not in-person.

The health department said Friday that these recommendations are based off new cases per 100,000 people, the percentage of persons testing positive and the trend in incidence rate.

Eastern Jackson County is currently in the “red zone,” based on Kansas City Regional Gating Criteria shared by the health department.

The red zone means there are 201 or more new cases per 100,000 people, 10% or more of tests are positive and the trend in cases is increasing.

According to health department data, Eastern Jackson County has seen 329 new cases per 100,000 people and a 14.98% positive test rate.

This zone calls for school buildings to close and no extracurricular activities.

For now, the Independence School District is one of the first in Missouri to head back to class. The district is scheduled to start Monday with elementary students in person and older students on a hybrid schedule. Athletics will be going on as normal.

In Blue Springs, the district has already delayed until Sept. 8, and the district gave families the option of in-person or remote learning.

Lee’s Summit has also delayed until after Labor Day, but the district has said unless there’s a significant improvement in COVID-19 spread, they will begin with virtual learning for all grade levels.

Grandview, Raytown and others have made similar choices.