Dozens of students are in quarantine days after a South Carolina district returned to school, officials said.
Just a week after the school year kicked off on July 22, the district reported that five people tested positive for the virus. Those cases led to “about 70 students being quarantined as close contacts, the majority of which have been at the high school,” officials said.
Primary and middle school students in Greenwood School District 51 will start eating lunch in their classrooms next week to try to prevent further COVID-19 spread, superintendent Fay Sprouse said Thursday.
The school system, also called Ware Shoals School District, said students are being offered masks to wear on buses and inside buildings. It’s also considering social distancing and disinfecting options, the Index-Journal newspaper reported.
“Please keep sick children at home,” Sprouse wrote in an online post. “If you want them tested, contact your school nurse.”
Ware Shoals is roughly 40 miles south of Greenville and lies partly within Greenwood County.
As of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said community COVID-19 transmission in Greenwood County was “substantial.” That’s a change from earlier this week, when it was one of two counties in the state that had lower transmission, sitting at the “moderate” level, The State newspaper reported Thursday.
As the delta coronavirus variant poses health risks, people in Greenwood County and other places that are marked “substantial” or “high” are urged to wear face coverings inside public buildings, no matter their vaccine status. That includes schools, where the CDC in guidance published this week recommends K-12 students and staff members mask up.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday echoed that guidance when it said it “strongly recommends mask use for all people when indoors in school settings.”
As the United States continues its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, children under age 12 aren’t yet eligible to get their shots, raising concerns among some parents of school-aged kids, McClatchy News previously reported.