STANLY COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Stanly County Schools is moving to two weeks of fully remote learning after a third grade teacher died from COVID-19, and a student at the same school tested positive for the virus this week.
The school board announced all students and staff will go fully remote for two weeks. The board announced their decision Saturday morning and voted to begin the remote learning period Wednesday, Oct. 14.
Teachers will return to their classrooms Friday, Oct. 30 and students will return Monday, Nov. 2. All employees will work remotely and will be paid during this time.
The decision comes after a recommendation from the Stanly County Health Department and Stanly County Schools administration team due to increased community spread of COVID-19, the board announced.
During the meeting, school officials say they spoke to an investigator from the North Carolina Department of Labor who had questions about the workplace environment during the coronavirus pandemic.
School officials said that the NCDOL investigator told them she felt Stanly County Schools took reasonable steps in creating a safe workplace environment.
According to a school board member, the NCDOL investigator told them that her findings did not indicate that the death of the third grade teacher from COVID-19 was a workplace-related incident.
This week, a third-grade student at a Stanly County elementary school tested positive for COVID-19. This positive test result came less than a week after a teacher at the same school died of complications from the virus.
Stanly County School officials said that on Wednesday they were notified that a third-grader at Norwood Elementary School tested positive for coronavirus.
The entire third-grade class was moved to full remote learning on Sept. 29, which was just a few days before beloved teacher Julia Davis had died.
School officials say the student who tested positive has not been at school since Sept. 29.
Parents of third-grade students at the school were notified of the positive case Wednesday night.
“Any individuals that were in close contact with this student will be notified personally and advised as to the appropriate next steps,” a school spokesperson said.
The students are to return to school on Monday, Oct. 12. However, school officials are working with the health department to determine if that return to class needs to be pushed back.
“In order to keep our students in school, we all must take reasonable measures to avoid community spread,” a school spokesperson said. “The request has been made of parents that if anyone in their household experiences symptoms of COVID-19 or has recently been around another person who has tested positive for COVID 19, to please not send their child to school.”
Last Sunday, Stanly County Interim Superintendent Vicki Calvert confirmed that Julie Davis, a third-grade teacher at Norwood Elementary School, had died.
Those close to Davis told WBTV that Davis was recently hospitalized by the virus.
Calvert said Davis self-quarantined when she began to experience symptoms.
After the district received confirmation of the positive result, school nurses worked with health officials on contact tracing and determined the measures that needed to be taken to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to the interim superintendent.
Staff and students who were considered to be close contact were quarantined.
School officials say Davis did not contract the virus from the school.
The district did confirm that another student did test positive before Sept. 7, but said Davis and that student did not have close contact and the student didn’t return to school after testing positive.