The fourth wave of COVID-19 continues nationwide and with schools now open, many schools are experiencing multiple cases.
After reporting just 37 cases of COVID the first week of school (Aug. 23-27), Lincoln County Schools reported 90 confirmed positive cases in week #2 (Aug. 30-Sept. 3). Lincolnton High School had 15 cases, Rock Springs Elementary had 13 and East Lincoln Middle had 10. There were nine cases at Love Memorial, five at S. Ray Lowder, Norrish Childers, and West Lincoln Middle; four at North Lincoln and West Lincoln high schools and at Lincolnton Middle School. Battleground had three as did St. James. No other school had more than two. Lincoln County Schools is providing a weekly update on cases of the virus in schools on the Lincoln County Schools website at https://sites.google.com/lincoln.k12.nc.us/covid-information/covid-numbers.
Catawba County Schools reported 190 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in students, faculty or staff the second week of school. There were 68 faculty or staff in quarantine or isolation and 1,902 students in quarantine or isolation. According to the district’s dashboard, over 12% of all staffers and students were in quarantine or isolation. Catawba County Schools is providing daily updates on its COVID-19 dashboard. Unlike Lincoln County, which switched to 'masks required' on the first day of school for students (Aug. 23rd), Catawba County Schools began 'masks optional.' The school board held an emergency meeting last Tuesday (Aug. 31st) and changed to 'masks required' on Thursday (Sept. 2nd).
Lincoln Charter School also began the year (on Aug. 11th) 'masks optional,' but that was changed by their board on Aug. 23rd.
Chief Administrator Jonathan Bryant sent out the following email to Lincoln Charter School parents Tuesday (Sept. 7th):
Lincoln Charter families, as a valued stakeholder I want to take this opportunity to provide you with some updates. I hope you had time to enjoy the outdoors during the long weekend.
We appreciate everyone’s efforts in masking as an additional effort to make in person instruction a priority. Masking has provided some relief in contact tracing efforts and we have seen a decline in the number of staff and students that are having to quarantine. The Delta Variant has proven to be super contagious and we are certainly not immune to positive cases. We are in constant communication with Lincoln County DHHS and our school nurses to monitor the COVID metrics/situation at LCS. You will notice that Lincoln County DHHS has identified a COVID cluster at our Lincolnton campus. A cluster is defined as 5 or more positive cases, over a 14 day period. The cluster was maintained within the student group upon completion of contact tracing. It is important to note that the vast majority of our positive cases can be traced back to exposure outside of Lincoln Charter, and I want to express my appreciation for everyone’s efforts to keep our community as safe as possible.
We are fortunate to have dedicated school nurses at each campus to manage the testing, tracing and communication involved with COVID procedures. We are thankful that we are able to provide COVID testing onsite for the Lincoln Charter Community. This is a great benefit to our community and helps us to focus on our priority of keeping everyone safe and focused on in person learning.
You can view any and all COVID information on our website at https://lincolncharter.org/connect/bouncing_back, this also contains our COVID dashboard (updated daily).
Finally, as we return from a long holiday weekend, I ask that you continue to be mindful of your child’s health. Previously, we have seen a rise in COVID infections in the days following a holiday. Please do not send your student to school if they are exhibiting symptoms, and please contact Nurse Brittain or Nurse Price if you have any questions.
Homecoming is a great tradition at Lincoln Charter. We look forward to showing our Eagle Pride, welcoming alumni home, and celebrating with the entire Lincoln Charter community. In light of our current environment, we are going to push the Homecoming date in anticipation of a better time to gather safely as a large community. The original date of Homecoming Week, September 27 - October 1, has been removed from the calendar. We hope that the month of November will present a better opportunity to gather and honor this great tradition. We look forward to bouncing back with a new date in the fall or beyond if necessary.
Next Board Meeting
Reminder that the School Board will hold their next meeting on 9/13 at 6:30pm in the High School Multi-purpose room, Denver Campus. This is a special called meeting to discuss masking. Because this is a special called meeting, public comment will not be offered and the Board’s discussion will be restricted to masking at Lincoln Charter.
I thank you for your partnership and support.
There is some good news. Not only are more people getting vaccinated, the NC Dept. of Health & Human Services, which had reported over eight thousand daily new cases on two days week before last and nearly 8,000 on Friday of last week reported 4,752 new cases Wednesday, less than five thousand for the third day in a row--so the surge has at least slowed a bit.
Also, figures from area hospitals indicate that those who are fully vaccinated--even if they get the virus and need to be hospitalized, generally do much better than the unvaccinated.
The Lincoln County Health Dept. released its weekly report on the virus (Snapshot #32) Wednesday afternoon. The number of active cases declined from 496 a week ago to 456, the lowest figure in three weeks; but the 14-day daily average of new cases increased from 56.4 to 57.6. Of those new cases, 31% were under age 18, 42% under 25, 79% less than 50 years old, and only 14% age 65 and older. 94 deaths from COVID have now been reported in Lincoln County.
Catawba County's weekly report showed 511 new cases since last Wednesday. That's the first decrease in new cases in a week in three weeks. Catawba County has now counted 351 COVID deaths.
CLICK HERE to see the Lincoln County Health Department's Snapshot #32 on their Facebook page.