500+ COVID-19 cases in August among Wake County schools means many are quarantined

COVID-19 and schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Nine Wake County public schools are currently reporting COVID-19 clusters. In the month of August, more than 500 cases were reported among WCPSS students and staff.

These cases were all reported before traditional students returned to the classroom this week.

In the month of August, the WCPSS dashboard shows 515 COVID-19 cases. Those in close contact with those students or staff members have to quarantine. That means anyone who has been within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes.

Ritchie Schacher’s son, who attends a modified calendar school, was quarantined shortly after school began.

“He was in school for exactly six days and he had his first exposure,” Schacher said.

Sarah Coggins’ daughter is currently quarantined.

“We got a call Sunday afternoon from the assistant principal, who told us apparently she was exposed last Friday,” Coggins said.

Schacher’s son ultimately tested negative for COVID-19. Coggins’ daughter has no symptoms so far, but the virus is spreading in multiple Wake County schools.

According to the district, nine schools — five elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools — have clusters. That means at least five related cases within 14 days of each other.

Two high school clusters happened before school started. Knightdale High School posted on its website that the cluster there involved the athletic program. Parents said Sanderson High School is in a similar situation. Last week’s football game was canceled. According to the district’s dashboard, Sanderson has had 25 pending or confirmed cases this month.

Parents dealing with students in quarantine said they’re doing what they can to help their kids through a difficult situation.

“We are just juggling that whole remote work, parent, teacher, school thing,” Coggins said.

“I’m worried. I’m worried this could happen again and again, and repeated absences will have an impact on his academic performance,” Schacher added.

Wake County could not provide a number of how many students are currently quarantined. A spokesperson said they group students to try to limit the number of children needing to quarantine. If a student is in close contact with an exposed student, they can avoid quarantine if both students were wearing their masks correctly 100 percent of the time.

However, students do remove masks for eating, drinking, and have the option to remove them outside, so 15 minutes of close contact can add up pretty quickly.

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