COVID cases put more than 100 from Lincoln schools in quarantine

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, September 30, 2020

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After just two days back in the classroom, more than 100 Lincoln County students are in quarantine after two members of the school district staff tested positive for COVID-19.

It was reported Wednesday afternoon that 114 people, including students and staff members, were in quarantine. Of that 114, some were already in quarantine before the first day of in-person school, according to a statement from Brad Smith, communications coordinator for Lincoln County Schools.

“Quarantining staff and students should not cause alarm or panic, this is going to be the new norm for public schools until there is better treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19,” Superintendent of Lincoln County Schools Michael Rowe said. “We must follow the guidance of the Lincoln County Health Department regarding COVID-19 cases, unfortunately, this means when there is a positive COVID-19 case there could be a large number of staff and students who must quarantine due to low-risk exposure. Our students and staff are doing a great job of following the Healthy at School guidelines so far.”

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Diane Miller, director of the Lincoln County Health Department, said her office is staying in contact with the parents of students who have been exposed to anyone with positive test results.

“Right now we are monitoring those students that had contact with the case at the high school, and we will do a daily call to their parents to determine whether they’ve had signs or symptoms,” Miller said. “We have 116 students quarantined.”

In addition, she said there is one elementary school student in the county who has tested positive for COVID-19, and that student is also quarantined.

The district plans to continue to offer students Option 1, which is in-person instruction, and Option 2, Patriot Learning Academy, which is online instruction. Quarantined students will not have absences counted against them and will be able to learn/participate virtually, according to the statement from Smith.

“We prepared all summer for the return to in-person instruction and students having to quarantine. Our district has done a great job preparing a plan that allows quarantined students to go back to virtual learning while quarantined,” Rowe added.

Miller said continuing to prevent the spread of the virus is key, and following the basic guidelines including social distancing and the wearing of masks are both important parts of prevention.

“Follow the social distance guidelines and wear masks at all times, and the distance is six feet of each other, which of course I know it’s probably not doable in those classrooms,” Miller said. “But you’ve got to follow those social distancing guidelines, and make sure students are abiding by those guidelines and washing their hands often.”

Miller said that any decision to make changes to options offered to students is one that would be “strictly the superintendent’s decision.”

Smith said parents and students should refer to the school district’s website for daily updates.