"So these are our outdoor classrooms," said Chris Mazzola, pointing out blue tents, camping chairs, and white boards set-up throughout the Branson campus.
RELATED: Marin Catholic High School closes after large party, 'countless' reports of student sleepovers
Mazzola, the head of Branson, a private high school in the small town of Ross, decided to shut down in-person learning Tuesday,
"There were gatherings, a couple in the City and one in Marin on Halloween weekend, that had larger numbers of students."
In a letter to parents, Mazzola said students were unmasked and not socially distanced at the gatherings.
The school already dealt with two asymptomatic COVID infections before Halloween.
VIDEO: Letter threatens arrest over 12-year-old's missed Zoom class, Bay Area dad says
"That's really why we had to close down school, to make sure there weren't any infections as a result of those gatherings."
"Our job is to teach them that we're not in normal times and that we all have to make sacrifices if we want to be here in school," Mazzola went on to say.
"This was a very small minority of Branson students who actually went to these parties. Personally I didn't hear about them either, nor do I know of anybody who went to one," said Foster Lehman, a senior at Branson.
Lehman and Helena Curry are co-student body presidents.
"I think the school made a great call to have us all go back online because I know personally, the faculty they're risking their lives to come to Branson," said Curry.
RELATED: High school students frustrated with heavy workload, lack of guidance during virtual learning
Two miles away, Marin Catholic paused classroom learning for the same reason just three weeks ago.
"Teenagers want to be with each other above all, so it's not unexpected that they would want to do this," explained Mazzola, who said all students and faculty will be getting COVID tests on Thursday, and if everyone tests negative, the school can return to classroom learning next week.
"There's such a quality of life improvement of being in person and being with my peers," said Lehman.
Marin County Health Officer, Dr. Matt Willis, said this about the Branson campus closure:
"I applaud the brave step to temporarily reclose Branson, to ensure all the ingredients of safe reopening are in place. The message this sends to this community is essential-not just to the Branson community but to all in Marin. Safely reopening schools is as much about what happens off campus as on campus. With the holidays coming, parents need to know that large gatherings can threaten our ability to safely return kids to school. In our pandemic response we have to take the long view-a pause to step back a few days to reinforce the key messages will make their reopening more stable and safer long-term."
Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the 2020 election here. App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Live running updates on presidential election, CA, Bay Area
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Joe Biden cheers COVID-19 vaccine progress but says masks remain a must
- Watch Kamala Harris' journey to become 1st Black, Asian woman elected to vice presidency
- What next for President Donald Trump after 2020 presidential election?
- How to pronounce Kamala Harris' name and what it means
- Who would replace Sen. Kamala Harris if she becomes vice president?
- Dance parties, celebrations across US as Biden characterized as apparent president-elect
- How many electoral votes does each state have?
- CA propositions: Election results for the 2020 ballot measures
- 2020 CA election results by county, propositions, electoral college votes
- Map shows biggest Trump, Biden donors in SF Bay Area
- Map: These Bay Area precincts voted for Donald Trump in 2016
- What is voter suppression?