School system moves quickly after four individuals test positive for coronavirus
TIGER--Rabun County Schools’ officials have confirmed four positive COVID-19 cases since school started back on August 19.
An email confirming three positive cases at the high school went out to Rabun County school families on Monday, with 28 students in quarantine from those three cases.
“The [four] individuals with positive tests that required other students to be quarantined were all cases at the high school. As of Tuesday, we had our first middle school case that required others to be quarantined,” Superintendent April Childers said in a statement Tuesday.
“We had two others with positive tests, but those cases did not involve exposure at school,” she added.
All confirmed cases where faculty, staff or students test positive for COVID-19 are handled immediately, according to Childers.
She said that the school system is tracking those cases “that require someone else to be in quarantine.”
“Quarantine is based on having close contact with someone with a positive test for 15 minutes or more,” school officials stated in the email. “Being quarantined does not mean that the student will develop COVID-19. Quarantine is a preventive measure to lower the spread of COVID-19 if any of the individuals develop it.”
Children in quarantine are not permitted to come to campus, according to officials.
The school is informed of a person who tested positive by those families calling the school and confirming they tested positive.
“We don’t differentiate between staff and students," Childers said about the individuals who tested positive for COVID-19. Therefore, they are documented as cases and not released as distinguishments between faculty, staff or students.
She said that due to confidentiality reasons, no more details regarding those cases will be released.
Childers explained that once a positive case has been confirmed, school officials call each family of an exposed student that same day.
"We call everyone. We do not stop until we talk to each family," Childers said.
Do I have to be tested if I am exposed?
Exposed students are not required to be tested to come back to school, Childers noted. She said that school officials are not medical professionals so guidance should come from the patient’s healthcare provider.
“Not every sickness warrants a COVID-19 test, so that's why it is up to the healthcare provider to make those decisions,” Childers said. “If a student is sick, they should follow the normal procedure of turning in a doctor note upon arriving back to school unless the doctor recommends a COVID-19 test.”
Students who are required to stay home due to exposure will not have those days counted against them as absences. A “code” will be used for those days instead of counting them as absences.
Scott Crane, safety coordinator for Rabun County Schools, advised that parents should not send their child to school if they are sick.
“If anyone living in your home tests positive for COVID-19 or is awaiting COVID-19 test results, do not send your child to school,” according to the statement from school officials.
“If your child has been exposed to someone that tests positive, do not send your child to school.”
In any of these situations, parents are asked to contact the Board of Education office at 706-212-4350 and officials will assist in determining how long the child should remain at home and how to access schoolwork.
“Keeping your child at home in these situations will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and possibly prevent the need for other students to be quarantined,” according to school officials.
What safety precautions are being taken?
Every teacher has a seating chart and students are socially distanced as much as possible in order to keep the number of quarantine cases down. In addition, face masks are required to be worn on buses.
“Our plans are working very well,” Childers said about the strategies put in place for what to do in the instance of potential COVID-19 cases.
“Our procedures were developed in accordance with the guidance from the Department of Public Health and CDC recommendations and we will continue to update our plans as new information and guidance is provided by these sources" Childers said.
Crane said that the plans in place worked out exactly as planned when instances of positive cases arose.
"We just want to take every precaution to keep school going,” Crane said.