Private school principal says he has COVID-19. Here are known cases in Charlotte-area schools.

Private school principal says he has COVID-19. Here are known cases in Charlotte-area schools.
classroom desk and chairs (Source: WTVG)

(Charlotte Observer) - Across the Charlotte region, school districts and universities have reported a number of positive coronavirus cases since teachers and some students have returned to working and learning from school buildings.

In some places, schools have been temporarily shut down to clean and prevent further exposure. In other instances, affected people were isolated but the school building remained open.

Just as reopening plans varied, each district has different protocols on notifying employees, parents and the public about positive cases.

Here are schools where positive COVID-19 cases have been reported. This story was last updated Oct. 19.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

In an Oct. 15 note to parents, students and faculty, Charlotte Catholic High School Kurt Telford said he tested positive for coronavirus and that he had traced the source of contact to a family member. Telford said he first experienced symptoms two days prior to the announcement and he decided to stay home and get tested for COVID-19.

Telford said he contacted the health department and those who needed to quarantine — including some members of the administrative staff — had been contacted. He said he planned to isolate himself at home until Oct. 26. The school will not change its instruction plan but some administrative staff will be working remotely, according to Telford’s letter.

Multiple cases at Covenant Day School, reported on Sept. 25, marked the first cluster reported in a K-12 setting in Mecklenburg, according to county Public Health Director Gibbie Harris. Since then, a total of three cases among employees and four among students have been reported, the county’s Oct. 14 list of clusters and outbreaks shows.

Earlier, Charlotte Catholic reported four positive cases, prompting the school to shift to a hybrid of remote and in-person learning through Sept. 25. The school resumed in-person instruction Sept. 28. Those who tested positive were exposed off-campus and were not linked to each other at school, officials said.

Harris said of the school cases: “What we’re seeing is most of the cases are coming from outside exposures not the school setting.”

CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG SCHOOLS

CMS reopened under Plan C, with all students learning remotely.

The district releases details on COVID-19 cases on its website. As of Oct. 9, the last date the website was updated, there were no known active cases among teachers or students attending school.

The district brought back roughly 1,200 students with disabilities whose accommodations cannot be delivered via remote learning, starting Sept. 29. Since then, one student has tested positive in addition to seven staff members. The district did not specify whether the virus was contracted in a school setting.

Earlier, on Sept. 25, a CMS spokesman said the district is aware of 51 positive cases in the district since Aug. 2, but did not specify which schools or worksites the cases were associated with.

The board voted to start bringing students back to classrooms under Plan B, as early as Oct. 12, which would rotate students through one week of in-person instruction and two weeks of remote learning.

Students in grades K-5 will be divided into two cohorts, with the first group attending in-person learning on Mondays and Tuesdays and the second group in buildings on Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesdays would be remote learning for all elementary students.

GASTON COUNTY

Gaston County reopened schools under Plan B, which includes two days of in-school and three days of virtual instruction each week. Parents still have the option of all-virtual learning for their children.

Gardner Park Elementary shifted to remote learning on Oct. 12 after eight students and employees tested positive for coronavirus. The school will reopen to in-person learning on Oct. 26.

Between Aug. 10 and Oct. 9, the district reported 126 positive cases in its schools, but did not specify whether those were in students or teachers.

Those cases were reported in the following schools: Ashbrook High, Belmont Middle, Belmont Central Elementary, Bessemer City Central Elementary, Bessemer City Primary, Bessemer City High, Brookside Elementary, Carr Elementary, Chapel Grove Elementary, Cherryville High, Cherryville Elementary, Warlick Academcy, Costner Elementary, Stuart W. Cramer High, Cramerton Middle, Webb Street, East Gaston High, Forestview High, Gardner Park Elementary, Grier Middle, Gaston County Virtual Academy, Hawks Nest Steam Academy, Highland School of Technology, Holbrook Middle, Hunter Huss High, John Chavis Middle, Page Primary, Kiser Elementary, New Hope Elementary, North Gaston High, Pinewood Elementary, Pleasant Ridge Elementary, H.H. Beam Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Sherwood Elementary, South Point High, Southwest Middle, Stanley Middle, Tryon Elementary, W.A. Bess Elementary, W.C. Friday Middle, York Chester Middle and the district’s central office.

In one instance, at Webb Street School in Gastonia, district officials temporarily suspended in-person learning. The school, which serves students with special needs, was closed until Monday, Sept. 21, after two employees contracted COVID-19, according to a Sept. 10 letter to parents and employees from the superintendent and county health director. Health officials believe the employees contracted the virus at the school.

UNION COUNTY

Union County Public Schools reopened under a hybrid model, dividing students into four groups, each receiving one day of in-person instruction and learning remote the rest of the week. About 8,000 of the district’s 41,500 students are enrolled in a full remote learning option.

East Union Middle School: One staff member tested positive on Oct. 12 and may have exposed other employees and students. The school shifted to remote learning through Oct. 27 as a result.

South Providence School: Four positive cases were reported at the school on Sept. 23, which prompted a move to virtual learning through Oct. 6.

Poplin Elementary: Two staff members tested positive and may have exposed other employees, the district said on Aug. 20. The school was closed to students and staff from Aug. 20 through Sept. 7.

Weddington Elementary: A staff member tested positive, the district announced on Aug. 26. The school shifted to remote learning through Sept. 8.

Weddington High School: A student tested positive on Aug. 20. The school continued to operate in Plan B, and did not shift to remote learning as a result.

IREDELL-STATESVILLE SCHOOLS

The system’s Board of Education approved both Plan B and Plan C, giving parents the choice between in-person and remote learning.

Since the school year started, the district has reported 34 positive cases. A total of 184 employees have had to quarantine as a result of possible exposure to someone with the virus.

Positive cases have been reported at the following schools: Coddle Creek, Cloverleaf Elementary, NB Mills Elementary, East Iredell Middle, Shepherd Elementary, North Iredell High, East Iredell Elementary, North Iredell Middle, Troutman Elementary, Troutman Middle, Statesville High School, Lake Norman Elementary, Lake Norman High, Third Creek Middle, South Iredell High and West Iredell High, Woodland Heights Elementary.

COLLEGES

Charlotte-area universities have varied approaches to classes and student living during the fall 2020 semester. Some are remote only.

UNC Charlotte reported its first COVID-19 cluster of eight cases among students living off campus, the school announced Sept. 1. The school earlier announced it would push back the start of in-person classes to Oct. 1. The semester began virtually on Sept. 7.

In the first week of in-person learning, UNC Charlotte quarantined all residents of a dorm building after detecting the novel coronavirus in the building’s wastewater. The school did not identify which dorm was affected, and said that no one living there had reported symptoms.

On Oct. 16, university leaders said residents in three dorms would be tested after cases were discovered. Three days prior, the school moved to temporarily suspend practice for the 49ers men’s basketball team following a cluster of cases among players and staff.

As of Oct. 19, there have been 351 known cases of COVID-19 among UNC Charlotte employees and students, according to the university’s website. Of that total, 37 are considered active cases.

At Davidson College, officials reported a cluster on Aug. 28 with five baseball players who tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, the college reported a total of 13 known cases out of more than 1,600 tests administered during the initial return of students to campus. As of Oct. 18, there was one known active cases on campus, according to the college’s website.

At Belmont Abbey College in Gaston County, officials reported on Aug. 27 a total of 38 “active” cases on campus, according to health officials and WBTV.

This is a developing story.