GILES COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — Even though the number of positive coronavirus cases among students and staff at Giles County Public Schools nearly tripled in the last week, school officials still plan to reopen classrooms and resume in-person instruction on Monday.
Earlier this week, the district announced students would transition to remote instruction from Wednesday, Sept. 8 through Friday, Sept. 10 because the high coronavirus rate within the community would interfere with the ability for schools to perform vital functions in a safe and effective manner.
Then, on Thursday, Sept. 9, Giles County school officials reported a total of 74 positive coronavirus cases — which is almost three times the number of cases reported on Thursday, Sept. 2, and more than nine times the number of cases reported on Friday, Aug. 27 — from the following schools:
- Macy McClaughtery Elementary/Middle School: Nine student cases and five staff cases
- Narrows Elementary/Middle School: Nine student cases and four staff cases
- Eastern Elementary/Middle School: 15 student cases and one staff case
- Giles High School: 22 student cases and two staff cases
- Narrows High School: Seven student cases
The day after these new numbers were released, though, the district announced that students would still return to in-person learning on Monday, Sept. 13. However, masks will be required for everyone within the school buildings once those buildings reopen, no exceptions.
You can read the full statement issued by Giles County Public Schools on Friday below:
We want to thank all of our parents and guardians for your patience and understanding during the past three days as we transitioned to virtual learning. We realize the issues this type of decision causes and do not make these decisions lightly. We also want to commend our staff for getting our virtual learning up and running on short notice. We have heard positive things over the last couple of days about the synchronous instruction that has been occurring.
As of this time, we will be returning to in-person learning on Monday, September 13th. Upon returning, masks will be REQUIRED for everyone within the school building. And, per federal guidelines, masks will continue to be required on school transportation. If someone refuses to wear a mask in school, parents/guardians will be contacted to come pick their child up. Or, if someone continues to refuse to wear a mask on the bus, you may be required to provide transportation for your child. Please keep in mind that things can change quickly which could require us to make changes to this plan. But, again, at this time, we plan on returning to in-person learning on Monday, Sept. 13th.
In addition, moving forward, there may be occasions where we will not be able to provide transportation to students due to a shortage of bus drivers. If this occurs, this information will be conveyed as quickly as possible through our social media pages, as well as local television stations, to let parents know that they will need to provide transportation for their child. We apologize for this inconvenience, but will do everything possible to secure individuals to safely transport our students to school each day.
We want to remind you that if someone is experiencing any of these symptoms – fever of 100 degrees or more, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, headache, cough, nausea, loss of smell and/or taste, congestion, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, chest pain, or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19, they need to stay home until symptom-free for 24 hours. In the event that your child is experiencing 1 or more of these symptoms, the health department is encouraging individuals to be tested.
Please encourage your child to follow the mitigation strategies that we have in place, particularly wearing a face covering at all times while in the schools and on school transportation. We will continue to monitor our situation and work with the health department to evaluate situations as they arise. We look forward to having our students back for in-person learning and continuing to provide them a safe learning environment. Thank you and we hope that you have a nice weekend.Giles County Public Schools Facebook page
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