Parents protest at Harnett County School Board meeting; 1,400+ staff, students in quarantine

Local News

LILLINGTON, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 1,400 students and staff are in quarantine right now in Harnett County.

This comes as there are hundreds of COVID-19 cases in the schools.

The school board is meeting at 6 p.m. Monday with district leaders expected to give a COVID-19 update.

By just after 5 p.m. there were protesters against COVID-19 restrictions, despite the surge in cases.

“I have two at home right now waiting on tests to come back,” said parent Nathalie Littlejohn.

“Two of the boys, they both tested positive for COVID, then find out both their moms, my sisters, tested positive,” said aunt Laurie Guilford.

“Within two weeks she has gotten sick, I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” said parent Kylessa Mcneill. “I think it’s just crazy. Everybody should follow the rules wearing the mask, like we wouldn’t be here right now if everybody followed the rules.”

McNeill said her sister is also dealing with it.

“Her kids had to get taken out of school and quarantine, all three of them,” said McNeill.

They’re all part of the more than 1,400 students and staff in quarantine right now — after more than 220 COVID-19 cases popped up in the school district.

“It’s been rough, they feel crummy,” said Guilford.

Last month, the Harnett County school board reversed its COVID-19 protocols and mandated masks in its schools.

Some said the messaging’s been mixed.

“What I’m hearing is many parents feel their children will be slighted if they go one way or the other,” said Elizabeth Crudup. “We just hope everyone stays safe, but the guidelines and mandates coming out of the local county boards and the board of education and board of commissioners needs to be clear.”

It’s led to a divide between families.

“I feel it should be a choice to make, same with vaccinations, I don’t think it should be a point where you’re forced to do anything,” said Littlejohn.

“I believe in that mandate because I got a low immunity system, and I’d hate if my grandkids were to bring it home to me,” said grandparent Arthur Griffin.

Harnett County is one of the lowest in the state for vaccinations — with just a third of its population is fully vaccinated.

“I’m vaccinated so I’m not nervous. That’s one thing the vaccine did for me, it gave me that sigh of relief,” said Crudup.

There are no details about what school leaders are going to discuss concerning COVID-19 in the board meeting on Monday night, just that it will be an update.

The number of students and staff quarantining is about six times what it was two weeks ago.

It’s led to more remote learning, or for some students, falling behind.

“It’s kind of frustrating,” said Littlejohn. “They don’t have laptops to do work at home, so for those two or three days that they’re home, they’re already behind and we just started the school year.”

CBS 17 reached out to the district and all the board members for an interview on Monday about the meeting. No one responded.

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