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SCS reports decreases in quarantines, positive cases for fourth consecutive week

Stanly County Schools reported 560 students and staff were quarantined for the week of Oct. 3-9, according to updated data from the district’s COVID-19 online dashboard, the lowest total since the first week of school in late August. This accounts for about six percent of the estimated 9,400 students and staff across the district.

Last week’s total represents a 25 percent decrease from the 745 quarantines recorded for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2. It’s a 64 percent decrease from the almost 1,600 reported about a month ago, for the week of Sept. 5-11. This is the fourth straight week that cases have declined since hitting the peak in early September.

Almost every school saw its quarantine numbers decline compared to the week before. Central Elementary experienced the largest decrease with 30 students and staff now back at school, followed by Norwood Elementary with 28.

Two schools saw their numbers stay the same while four schools — Locust Elementary, Stanly County Virtual Education, Stanfield Elementary and Stanly STEM Early College — experienced only small single-digit increases.

For the first time this year, not a single school had 50 or more students and staff quarantined (the highest total was 44 at Albemarle Middle), a major improvement from previous weeks. Four schools had more than 50 people quarantined the week prior while about a month ago, during the week of Sept. 12-18, five schools had more than 100 people quarantined.

The district also reported 37 students and staff who were identified as having tested positive with COVID-19, a 39 percent decrease from the 61 people who were positive the week prior. Similar with quarantines, the number of students and staff who have contracted the virus have decreased significantly in the last couple of weeks. By comparison, 114 people were positive for the week of Sept. 19-25.

Five schools had zero students or staff who were positive, according to the data, while no school reported more than six.

The decline in cases within the schools mirror the overall decline in cases throughout the county over the past few weeks. The health department reported 222 cases last week, a roughly 40 percent decrease from a month ago, when 367 cases were reported for the week of Sept. 10. Other key COVID metrics, such as daily hospitalizations and the county’s positivity rate, have also declined.

The county’s rate, as of Tuesday, is 8.7 percent, half of what it was in early September when it approached 17 percent, and the lowest total since late July. Once the rate falls below 7.9 percent for two consecutive weeks, Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis will be able to make masks optional for students and staff.

Many school board members during last Tuesday’s meeting expressed their enthusiasm about the recent decline in new cases.

“I feel good because we’re continuing to come down and it looks like we’re really coming down. That was our goal,” school board member Glenda Gibson said. “It seems like we will hopefully hit that number (7.9 percent) soon.”

‘This was a target (7.9 percent) that we set out with in the very first meeting (in August) and I’m glad to see it’s heading in that direction,” said board member Anthony Graves, before making a motion to make masks optional, which the board voted on and declined.

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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