Two staff members test positive for COVID-19 at elementary, middle schools in Rowan County

Rowan Co. schools see positive COVID-19 cases

ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - One current and one former staff member at two schools in Rowan County tested positive for the coronavirus recently, according to the Rowan-Salisbury School System.

The current staff member works at Hanford-Dole Elementary School while the former staff member is from Knox Middle School. Both schools’ principals sent a notification to staff informing them of the positive tests.

The principals say both schools have been disinfected and sanitized “multiples times since the staff member was last in the building.”

“Each case is unique and must be handled specific to the situation and information provided by the employee. Medical information is personal health information and will not be shared due to privacy regulations,” the notifications read. “We are working very closely with the Rowan County Health Department officials to determine potential exposures. Based on interviews and investigations, all those who qualify as having had sustained contact have been notified.”

On Tuesday, NCDHHS also reported a COVID-19 cluster at North Hills Christian School in Rowan County. Officials say five cases - all involving staff members - were confirmed there.

“These cases do not affect our ability to hold in-person instruction, and we have plans in place for students and teachers to toggle to virtual learning/live instruction if the need arises,” said Maria Lowder, Executive Director. “We are thankful for the flexibility of our students, staff, and families as we work to keep everyone safe in the midst of COVID-19 changes and protocols. We miss our staff members who are currently out, but they are all doing well, and we look forward to having them back on campus once they are able to safely return.”

In a press release, North Hills provided a timelne of the events:

On Monday, August 10, North Hills Christian School sent an email to students, staff, and families to let them know that a staff person tested positive for COVID-19. Due to contact tracing, everyone who was in close contact and required to quarantine was notified. Since then, four of the quarantined staff members have also tested positive. None of these staff members have been on campus since the start of school.

When the first staff member reported symptoms on Friday, August 7, North Hills Christian School deep cleaned and sanitized the affected building, and no other buildings on campus were impacted. A professional cleaning company performed aerosolized disinfection Monday, August 10, to make sure that students would be safe on the first day of school, Wednesday, August 12.

The top priority for North Hills Christian School is the health and safety of students, staff, and families. The school is continuing to follow COVID-19 guidance and protocols set by the health departments by sanitizing each building during the day and deep cleaning in the evenings. Students and staff are required to wear masks when social distancing is not an option.

North Hills Christian School has been communicating daily with the Rowan County Health Department and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and will continue to work with them throughout the year.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools are offering parents an option between a virtual academy or letting children attend school two days week and learn remotely the other three.

For in-person learning, students will be divided into two groups (Group A & Group B). For those choosing the Virtual Academy, there is a K-8 academy and a high school virtual academy. They are treated was separate schools, each with its own principal and staff. Registration for the Virtual Academy has since closed.

Students will attend school face-to-face two days per week and learn remotely three days a week. Wednesdays will be used for cleaning. “Accommodations will be made for families with children in different grade spans, students with special needs, or issues related to work schedules,” RSS says.

The following safety requirements are in place at all public schools in the district:

  • Health screenings: Staff and parents will complete a health survey daily. Temperature checks will also be performed daily.
  • Face coverings: Face coverings will be will required for everyone. Face covering “breaks” will be built into the schedule.
  • Social distancing: Classrooms have been rearranged to reflect social distancing.

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