According to Elliott, 54 student close contacts were required to quarantine. Elliott said there was a 4.31 percent student exclusion rate, which is the number of students required to isolate or quarantine divided by total enrollment.
Among staff, nurses conducted 94 staff investigations with 41 staff positives. Seven staff cases were found to be from transmission in school. Six staff close contacts were required to quarantine.
“Students and staff who are close contacts within a household can continue to come to school as long as they are symptomatic and participate in the Test to Stay program,” Elliott wrote in the email. “People may return from a quarantine or isolation after five days from the last known exposure as long as they are fever-free for 24 hours and symptoms are improving.”
According to Elliott, students and staff in school systems that require masks do not have to quarantine after being a close contact as long as they remain asymptomatic.
For the week of Jan. 17, there were 494 student cases investigations with 148 student positives. A total of 18 student cases were secondary transmissions at school. WCS Superintendent Scott Elliott said in an email to parents on Jan. 21 that the close contacts were in school together last week and did not test positive until this week, which resulted in the secondary transmission in school. The 148 student positives was down from 166 the prior week.
Elliott is including that number because the goal is to keep as many people in school as possible.
WCS currently requires masks for students and staff.
Elliott also thanked Lowe’s Home Improvement for donating 40 N95 masks. The masks were distributed to school nurses and were available for staff to need them. The school system is also waiting on a shipment of N95/KN95 masks from the state.
“Please continue to do everything you can to protect yourselves from this very contagious variant of the virus,” Elliott wrote. “The precautions have not changed: wear a good mask, get vaccinated/boosted, avoid large gatherings, stay home if you are sick, wash your hands. Even with those precautions, this virus is going to reach most of us if it has not already. Please know that I care about you and will continue to do anything I can to help you.” A s of Jan. 24, there have been 639 COVID-19 cases reported in the last five days in Watauga County, according to AppHealthCare.