School quarantines, cases decrease following spikes past few weeks

Published 9:21 am Thursday, November 18, 2021

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After increasing for two consecutive weeks, quarantines and positive cases within Stanly County Schools decreased last week, according to updated data from the district’s COVID-19 online dashboard.

Stanly County Schools reported 438 quarantines for the week of Nov. 7-Nov. 14, 93 percent of which were among students, an 11 percent decrease from 493 quarantines reported the week before. The total accounts for almost five percent of the estimated 9,400 students and staff across the district.

Of the 23 schools across the district, six experienced upticks in quarantine numbers, down from 17 the week prior.

The biggest increase came from North Stanly Middle, which had 44 students and staff out of school last week, an increase of 34 from the previous week. The total was the third highest among all the schools, behind only Badin Elementary, which had 72 quarantines, and Norwood Elementary, which had 63. Other notable week-to-week increases were South Stanly Middle, which had an increase of 14 quarantines, and Norwood, which had an increase of 13.

Sixteen schools experienced declines in quarantines, a major improvement from the previous week, when only four schools had declines.

Though Badin had the highest number of people out of school, it was a far cry from the previous week, when 118 students and staff were in quarantine. Other schools that experienced significant declines included West Stanly Middle, which had 17 less people in quarantine, and West Stanly High, which had 16 less.

Cases also declined as 20 students were identified as positive for COVID-19 last week, a decrease from the 25 people who had been positive the week prior.

No school had more than four people identified as positive last week, while 12 schools reported zero positives. Badin, which had led the way with eight positives for the week of Oct. 31-Nov. 6, had only one last week.

“The decrease in cases and quarantines in Stanly County Schools is encouraging,” said Doshia Swaringen, human services program specialist with the county health department.

She estimates the decline is due to several factors including parents and school officials being vigilant of children’s health (keeping kids home when sick, utilizing school testing, ramping up the focus on social distancing) along with more young people getting vaccinated.

As of Thursday, about 132 children ages 5 to 11 have received their first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, according to state health data, which represents about 3 percent of the total population. Close to 1,100 young people 12 to 17 have also received at least one dose, which accounts for about 23 percent of the population.

Vaccines are administered to young people at the health department every Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Parents can sign up for their kids to get vaccinated by calling the department’s Covid hotline number at 980-323-0205.

“Certainly, now is the time to be proactive before the winter and holiday season is upon us and we are spending more time indoors and in close contact with each other,” Swaringen said. “Getting vaccinated and practicing the three W’s (Wear Your Mask, Wash Your Hands, Watch Your Distance) are not only essential to protect ourselves, but also to combat this virus in our community and schools.”

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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