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More than 500 SCS students, 200 staff have contracted COVID-19 since last summer

During a brief COVID-19 update as part of a joint meeting with the Board of Education and the County Commissioners Tuesday, Stanly County Schools officials shared that 536 students and 212 employees have contracted the coronavirus since last June.

These numbers only reflect the people who self-reported to the school system, so the true number of students and staff who have been infected is likely higher.

Beverly Pennington, director of student services, said the number of weekly student cases have decreased of late and that between 200 to 250 students are being quarantined each day. With the availability of vaccinations, the number of weekly staff cases has also decreased, with about 20 staff members being quarantined per day.

“Our high schools and middle schools have the most cases, while our elementary have fewer, which goes hand-in-hand with CDC findings that younger kids are having an easier time with it,” Pennington said.

Pennington added that before spring break, there were more cases in the southern end of the county, while during and since spring break, there have been more cases in the northern end.

Unlike surrounding school districts, many of which spent much of the school year remote, SCS has offered some version of in-person learning since last August, except for two different two-week periods when the school system temporarily shifted to online learning.

Pennington credits SCS’s mitigation strategies (mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing, cleaning facilities and encouraging vaccinations) as the driving force behind why the school system has continued offering in-person learning throughout the year.

Vicki Calvert, deputy superintendent of human resources and student services, said that 53 percent of SCS employees have been fully vaccinated through the health department. That percentage does not include any staff members who got vaccinated either in another county or through another provider like CVS or Walgreens.

Seventeen students and a staff member contracted the coronavirus April 8-14, according to data posted on the school system’s website. This is much less than previous weeks.

Stanly County has had 7,302 cumulative cases since last spring, according to data from the county health department. Almost one-fourth of residents in the county have been partially vaccinated while 17 percent are fully vaccinated, according to state health data.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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