Franklin County High School remaining open amid COVID-19 outbreak


FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is reporting an “Outbreak in Progress” at Franklin County High School.

According to Director of Operations, Jason Guilliams, “Our staff has established a safe zone in the classroom, students are social distancing at three feet and we have trifold screens.”

Guilliams told WFXR News that those things — along with mask-wearing and frequent sanitation — are enough to continue in-person instruction.

“Our job is to educate the students while keeping them safe. That’s our number one goal is to make sure students are being educated while being safe,” he added.

Students returned to in-person classes on March 29. Cases began climbing a few days beforehand, while they were still on a hybrid schedule.

During the first week back to full in-person classes, there were eight cases counted. The district says they’ve been working closely with the health department in making decisions when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation.

“It just means we use a little extra caution. Instead of maybe wiping down our surfaces, we actually disinfect them,” said Nancy Bell, spokesperson for the Franklin County Health Department. “And wherever the students have been, we talk, trace, talk to the people they’ve been with.”

Now, with 12 connected cases within the high school, they still believe their method is helping.

“I hope people won’t jump to conclusions and feel like they need to shut down the whole school or anything like that because its really not necessary,” Bell said.

There are approximately 2,000 students attending Franklin County High and about 175 staff. Guilliams says the time has passed for students to apply for virtual learning, but the cases are confined.

“We have seven weeks of school remaining, the last quarter, we’re into the fourth nine-weeks of school, so we’re headed to the finish line,” said Guilliams.

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