COVID-19 cluster forces elementary school to go remote in Burke County

Updated: Oct. 22, 2020 at 5:46 PM EDT
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ICARD, N.C. (WBTV) - A COVID-19 cluster has forced an elementary school to go remote in Burke County. Burke County Public Schools was made aware of a cluster of at least five or more related positive COVID-19 cases at Icard Elementary School.

A dozen positive cases have led to 95 people being put into quarantine or isolation.

That’s a third of the 279 student population at the school and county officials decided the buildings needed to be locked up and kids learning from home for a while.

As a result, Icard Elementary School will move to Plan C (remote learning) instruction until Thursday, Nov. 5.

All learning at Icard will move from in-person to remote while the school is shut down.

There will be no activity at the school at least for several days to ensure adequate time for the virus to dissipate from the air.

Once that time period is up, the custodial team will move in to start the thorough sanitation process.

Icard Elementary School Principal Jeanene Burris notified parents via the SchoolMessenger alert system of the positive cases.

Parents had the option of checking out their students early, if they wished, but the Icard buses did run on their normal afternoon schedule to accommodate families who do not have alternative transportation and childcare options in the middle of the afternoon.

Allison Gardiner says she understands why the school system ordered the shutdown but is concerned that her son Calloway doesn’t do well with the virtual learning. She’s afraid if the switch to virtual keeps happening all school year, it will be a lost school year.

“I feel like he’s gonna have to learn all this stuff all over again,” she said.

School officials have said in the past that switching to virtual learning is not an ideal situation but during this pandemic they will take the path of safety first.

Officials say the school is working closely with the Burke County Health Department for guidance and to identify anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Just as with individual cases, if a child was identified as having had close contact and exposure, the school nurse notified the parents.

Parents who do not hear from the school nurse should know their child is not considered to have had close contact.

Parents who have questions about their child’s health, can contact their physician or the Burke County Health Department Public Information Line at 828-764-9168.

Icard Elementary School classroom teachers are communicating with students and families and providing specific information to let them know what to expect while the school operates under Plan C.

The Child Nutrition Department will continue to serve Icard Elementary students meals during the shutdown.

Meals will be available for pick up from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at East Burke High School on Oct. 22, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2. Students do not have to be present to receive the meals.

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