Wednesday, the third day of classes, Bulloch County Schools acknowledged four confirmed COVID-19 positive cases — one at Langston Chapel Middle School, one at Mattie Lively Elementary School, one at Nevils Elementary School and one at Portal Elementary School — with resulting quarantines for 49 students and eight staff members.
The schools' administrators and school nurses were notified, school system Public Relations Director Hayley Greene stated in
a public information release. Each school then enacted their COVID-19 safety protocols that were developed in partnership with the Department of Public Health.
"Each school immediately identified any persons who had close contact and exposure to the person, quarantined them in the school, and contacted their parents to pick them up," Greene stated.
At Langston Chapel Middle School 25 students have been quarantined, and four staff members and two students at Mattie Lively Elementary. Three employees and 16 students at Nevils Elementary are quarantined, and one employee and six students at Portal Elementary.
"All other students are safe to remain and return to school," Greene wrote, addressing parents. "There is no need to pick up your child from school unless you were contacted by the school to do so, and you do not have to quarantine your child or keep them from returning to school unless you were contacted by the school to do so."
The identified students will be quarantined for 14 days at home, and they will receive instruction from their Bulloch County Schools teachers via distance learning using the school district's Google Classroom and Google Meets tools.
"Per the Department of Public Health, the quarantined students may not return to school, even with a doctor's note, until they have completed the 14-day quarantine period and have no COVID-19 symptoms," Greene noted. "School nurses will monitor this quarantine to ensure no person returns to the building until their quarantine period is complete and the person has no symptoms."
All of the schools practice deep cleaning measures throughout the day, and the area where the COVID-19 person was present has been temporarily closed to receive immediate deep cleaning, the release state.
Wilson's new stance
This announcement follows Bulloch Schools Superintendent Charles Wilson's revised stance, which he informed the Statesboro Herald of Friday, that the school system will release limited information confirming positive cases and the number of individuals quarantined. The school system is not stating whether those confirmed to have COVID are students or school employees or the specific grade levels of classes.
"After further discussion with the Department of Public Health (DPH), our school nurses, our school district's public relations director, and reliable media resources, as well as further consideration of community feedback, I have modified our communication plans related to COVID-19," Wilson said.
"We believe that this will still allow us as an employer to protect the individual privacy of our employees, and as a public education provider, the privacy of our students," he said. "We will continue to partner with the DPH in the way they have asked us to, and responsibly provide information to our community at large."