With cases of Covid-19 on the rise in Cumberland County, Cumberland County School officials continue to take precautions to limit the virus’ spread among students.
Cape Fear Valley Health reported 108 COVID-related visits to its children’s emergency department between Aug. 27 and Sept. 16. Before August, the reported cases were “none to two per day.”
“We have what we like to call lasagna: We have layers of protection,” said Shirley Bolden, health services director for Cumberland County Schools.
Any student who is symptomatic with at least one COVID-19 symptom — fever, chills, shortness of breath, a new cough or loss of taste or smell — is sent to an “isolation room” at school until he or she can be picked up by a parent or guardian. The symptomatic student will then be excluded from school until either they get a doctor’s note with an alternate diagnosis or a negative COVID test.
Students who then test positive after being sent home are automatically excluded from school for five days of symptom improvement. This means students may be excluded for more than five days if symptoms worsen before they get better.
Upon students return to school, they are required to wear a face covering for the next five days to decrease potential spread. Masking is optional for students who don’t have COVID-19.
So far during September, 133 school district employees and 318 students have tested positive for the virus, according to Bolden. Test numbers from last September were not immediately available.
Wastewater data tracks COVID-19 levels through the amount of shedded virus material in stool. Higher numbers of gene copies, pieces of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that infected people shed, typically mean higher numbers of cases. The most recent reading for Cumberland County on Sept. 20 showed 44 million gene copies per person, up from 23 million on Aug. 2.
Other layers of CCS’ “lasagna” include providing rapid COVID-19 tests to families at no cost to ensure access to testing, as well as sending emails out to parents when a classmate of their child tests positive for the virus.
“That's all going to play a hand in making sure that we're well protected,” Bolden said.
For more information on preventing the spread of Covid in schools visit https://www.ccs.k12.nc.us/Page/8479.
Contact Char Morrison at email@example.com.