RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – On the first day of the school year, it’s apparent COVID-19 is still an issue for school districts across the country.

Wake County Public School System reported nine COVID-19 clusters has reported nine COVID-19 clusters for the 2021 school year. Current clusters in the district account for 74 cases. No clusters were reported on the first day.

Most of the clusters were reported at the elementary school level.

Salem Elementary in Apex had the largest number of cases with 15. That was followed by Herbert Akins Elementary in Fuquay-Varina with 11 cases. Both schools first reported cases on Aug. 2.

Source: Wake County Public School System

A cluster is defined as a group of five or more related COVID-19 cases. A cluster is over if there are no more new cases linked to cases group.

Statewide, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 30 COVID-19 clusters in schools. While cases associated with K-12 settings peaked in August 2020, state reports showed they are on a steady increase.

The district said it is up to Wake County Public Health to determine how long students or staff must quarantine.

WCPSS recently updated it’s COVID-19 quarantine protocol.

The district announced the following changes:

  • All teachers across grade levels and content areas will have a WCPSS landing page in Canvas or Google Classroom.
  • School staff will provide regular live office hour times for student connection, engagement, and support.
  • When feasible, district-level instructional support and live office hours will be made available across grade levels and content areas to supplement what schools are able to provide.
  • When a quarantine requires the entire classroom to quarantine, the class will become virtual when feasible, including live instruction for the duration of the quarantine