Ridgefield High School went to virtual learning Wednesday after four new COVID-19 cases.

There were already 302 students and 69 school staff members in quarantine as a result of 11 other COVID-19 cases at six different school buildings when the 4 new cases as RHS were announced, and contact tracing began to see how many people would be sent into quarantine. And those figures don’t count 14 previous cases around the school system, in which 247 students and 82 staff members have completed their 14-day quarantines.

“Our focus,” School Superintendent Susie Da Silva told Tuesday night’s triboard meeting, has been “the health and safety of our children and faculty, while keeping our schools open.”

Before the high school went fully remote Wednesday, the town’s six elementary schools had been inviting all their students for in-school classes five days a week, and the high school and two middle schools had returned to “hybrid learning” with two cohorts alternating time in in the buildings.

Coping with all the shifts in learning models, finding substitutes for teachers who are out with COVID-19, and so much time spent with students seeing teachers only over the internet, has gotten the 2020-21 school year off to a tough start.

“That by far has been our greatest challenge, thus far,” Da Silva told the boards of selectmen, education and finance. “That being said, our work outside of COVID continues.”