9 schools in Union County have COVID-19 cases; only 2 have closed

9 schools in Union County have COVID-19 cases; only 2 have closed

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — While some school districts have closed and gone all remote, others haven’t. The largest district in the state with in-person learning is Union County, which is where we’ve seen the most coronavirus cases.

As of Friday morning, nine schools in Union County have COVID-19 cases, but only two have closed.

Weddington Elementary announced on Wednesday that it would be moving to remote learning until Sept. 8 after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Last week, Poplin Elementary moved to remote learning after two staff members tested positive.

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Channel 9 talked to parents and teachers who said they’re frustrated by a lack of consistency when it comes to closing schools with COVID-19 cases.

“It’s a nightmare trying to work through this,” father Jason Eschert.

When a school closes, parents like Eschert say it leaves them scrambling. His 7-year-old daughter Ivy is a second grader at Poplin Elementary, which closed because of COVID-19 cases after she attended just one day in person.

Teachers told us they don’t know what factors the district is using to decide when to close a school or keep it open.

“We still have no guidance on what to expect if an outbreak occurs in our building,” one teacher said.

In a statement, Union County Public Schools said its deciding on a case by case basis with factors including symptoms, date reported and potential for exposure.

District officials also said they are relying on guidance from the health department.

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Channel 9′s Genevieve Curtis asked the health department what type of guidance its providing and officials listed the following:

  • Number of positive cases
  • Number of associated close contacts who need to quarantine
  • Whether cases or contacts focused in one area or classroom
  • School’s capacity to adjust staffing to meet operational needs

Ultimately, it’s the district’s decision on whether a school stays open or closed.

Curtis also asked if there was a coordinated effort to test staff and students potentially exposed and their family members and the health department says there is no coordinated effort.

“You know that people are going to come down with it. and the school system, you would think, had a better plan in place than to tell the parent that evening we are closing for three weeks,” Eschert said.

As of Friday, the health department says there aren’t any clusters of cases tied to the schools, but the state is monitoring that.

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