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SCS reports decline in cases, quarantines

For the first time this school year, there has been a decline in the number of quarantines and positive cases among Stanly County Schools students and staff, according to the latest data from the district’s COVID-19 dashboard.

From the week of Sept. 12-18, 1,451 students and staff were quarantined, an 8 percent decrease from the 1,577 the week before. A total of 128 students and staff tested positive, an 18 percent decline from the 157 the week before.

There were 142 less students in quarantine for the week. For staff, the numbers increased. Ninety-eight staff members were quarantined, compared with 82 staff the week prior.

There were four schools — Oakboro Choice STEM, Stanly Academy Learning Center, Stanly Early College and Stanly STEM Early College — which experienced no new cases for the week. The week before, only two schools had no cases.

Student quarantine numbers varied substantially across the district from less than 10 at Stanly Early College and Stanly STEM Early College to more than 100 at four schools. East Albemarle Elementary had the most quarantines for the week with 175 students out of school. The school also had the most staff quarantines with 10.

Thirteen schools saw a decline in the number of quarantines, highlighted by Richfield Elementary, which saw a 60 percent reduction in cases. There are 32 students and staff quarantined, much lower than the 80 that were out the week prior. Other schools that saw large decreases include Stanly Early College (44 percent decline), North Stanly High (39 percent), Oakboro Choice (37 percent), Stanly STEM Early College (36 percent), Endy Elementary (31 percent), South Stanly High (29 percent) and West Stanly High (24 percent).

Albemarle High experienced a 27 percent increase in cases, the largest in the district. There are 116 students and staff quarantined for the week, up from 91 the week prior. Other schools that experienced large spikes include Albemarle Middle (23 percent) and Aquadale Elementary (20 percent).

When it comes to cases, there were 113 students who tested positive, down from 143 the week prior. For staff members, there were 15 cases, almost identical to the 14 confirmed the week before.

Twelve schools and the central office experienced a decline in the number of positive cases, according to the data. East Albemarle saw an 80 percent drop in cases from 18 to now 3, followed by North Stanly High, which saw a 70 percent decrease in cases from 23 to 7.

A few schools experienced notable increases in cases: Albemarle Middle’s total rose from 12 to 19 while South Stanly High rose from six to 11 cases.

There have also been four ongoing clusters identified within the district at Richfield Elementary, West Stanly Middle, West Stanly High and North Stanly High, according to data from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The state defines a cluster as five or more related cases at a facility within a 14-day period.

In SCS, like most districts across the state, masks are required. Masks will become optional once the county’s percent positivity rate drops below 7.9 percent. The rate was at 12.5 percent as of Wednesday, according to the health department, two percentage points lower than it was on Tuesday.

When it comes to other schools in the county, Gray Stone Day School reported 14 cases as of Monday and Pfeiffer University has three active cases.

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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