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Macon County Schools staff exposed to COVID19

Last updated on August 19, 2020

*Update- On Wednesday, the school system announced cafeteria workers at South Macon Elementary, Mountain View Intermediate, and Macon Middle School had tested positive. All cafeteria staff were sent home to quarantine. Bagged lunches will be provided by CareNet.

Students returned to school in Macon County today and during the August meeting of the Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin confirmed a staff member had tested positive on Friday. The staff member was not in school on Monday and did not know they were positive before Friday.

“As of late Friday afternoon, we were made aware that one of our staff members had tested positive for COVID19,” said Dr. Baldwin. “As a result of that positive test, we now have additional staff members who now have to sit out of work for the quarantine period of 14 days as a result of being exposed to that positive test. “

Dr. Baldwin said the district knew this was an issue schools would be facing.

“We also had additional exposure today that will impact our staffing moving forward,” said Dr. Baldwin. “It is something we will be monitoring closely and will be communicating with the health department daily to find out who might need to be quarantined or have to stay at home for a period of time. I will let you know if it gets to the point that it is unsafe to operate schools due to staffing shortages.”

Dr. Baldwin said that while most parents have been extremely supportive of the district’s health and safety guidelines, the district was notified today of a parent who entered the school despite currently being actively positive for COVID19.

“We have had some exposures today due to parents coming in to meet with staff members although they are positive for COVID19,” said Dr. Baldwin. “We ask parents to please follow the screenings in the tool kit.”

In addition to parents, Dr. Baldwin informed the board that there were students turned away from school today due to a fever, some of which have since seen the doctor and tested positive for strep throat.

The Macon County Health Department held a free drive-thru testing clinic at Macon Middle School last Thursday and had dedicated time available for teachers and school staff to be tested for COVID19. With testing delays on the state level, it is unlikely all of those test results have been returned to the health department.

Schools across the state started the school year today with a mix of in-person and remote learning. Other districts such as Buncombe County also reported students testing positive for COVID19. UNC-Chapel Hill also announced they would be switching to virtual learning after several clusters of COVID19 were found in dorms.

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