Seventh grade students at White County Middle School will be on virtual learning classes from Tuesday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 20, due to multiple new positive COVID-19 tests and precautionary quarantines. Students will return after Thanksgiving break on Monday, Nov. 30.
The move, announced Monday afternoon, comes after the school had four teachers tested positive, with another three teachers quarantined, along with four students testing positive and 66 students quarantined, Superintendent Dr. Laurie Burkett told school board members at a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday, Nov. 17. The four teachers that tested positive are all seventh grade teachers. Two of the three quarantined teachers are exhibiting symptoms – one is a seventh grade teacher and the other is a co-teacher in the same grade.
“As far as students, we have four positive student cases at the middle school, three of those are seventh grades,” Burkett said at the meeting. “Because of that, we quarantined 66 kids at the middle school – 55 of those are seventh graders. You can see once you put all of that on paper where our problem is, and it is the seventh grade. So that’s why we made the decision that we made yesterday.”
Burkett added that there are not enough seventh grade teachers available because of the positive cases and related quarantining.
As for why the sixth and eighth graders aren’t switching to virtual learning, Burkett said the seventh graders are contained to specific areas in the school.
“Seventh grade is contained to certain areas of the building, and we went in last night and deep cleaned those areas,” Burkett said. “We also deep cleaned the connections that multiple grades go in.”
Burkett also said that on Monday, Nov. 16, they were notified of three of the four positive teachers. She added that the numbers can change hourly and they are constantly monitoring them.
To help students who don't have internet access, Burkett said the school system has placed four buses throughout the county that have a WiFi hot spot attached to them that students can use for free. She said they were located at Chattahoochee Baptist, Shoal Creek Baptist, White Creek Baptist and Helen First Baptist.
More information will be in the Nov. 19 issue of The White County News.