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COVID-19 case confined to one classroom at PCHS

By Debbie Hall

A positive case of COVID-19 at Patrick County High School (PCHS) was confined to one classroom.

Schools Superintendent Dean Gilbert said he learned about the positive case late Saturday.

Affected students and staff were contacted individually, he said.

In contrast to the Sept. 19 “probable COVID-19 exposure” at Stuart Elementary School which affected an entire grade level, Gilbert said the case at PCHS was confined to one classroom.

Affected students can use virtual instruction, if possible, he said and added that the division will continue to work with the local health department to monitor current health data.

The affected classroom was sanitized and deep cleaned over the weekend, and again on Monday, Gilbert said.

Additionally, “I’m satisfied that all of the protocols such as sanitizing, wearing face coverings and distancing are being followed,” Gilbert said. “I’m satisfied all of the procedures were followed.”

He noted mitigation procedures, which include wearing masks, distancing and daily temperature/wellness checks employed at all the schools, are working.

“I think our schools are doing a great job with the mitigation procedures” and with giving students mask breaks, Gilbert said.

“Virtual learning might work for some, but not all. The majority of our students learn better in a more personal setting,” he said. “Now that students are back in class, no one wants” to have to close schools again.

About 65 percent of families selected the hybrid learning plan, which provides in class instruction two days per week, with 35 percent preferring to remain on the all-virtual model.

“I know it’s just two days a week, but I hope more families will consider the hybrid option,” Gilbert said. “We have room to have more students in class, and we’re doing what we need to be doing to keep students coming in. For right now, we’re just going to have to manage this” pandemic “and continue to do the best we can for our students,” Gilbert said.

The Franklin County School division has been offering the hybrid learning option since Sept. 8; school officials in Henry County recently approved a hybrid option, with students scheduled to return to classrooms in mid-October.

According to data from the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) as of Monday, Sept. 28, there have been a total of 276 cases in Patrick County, with 52 hospitalized and 25 dead.

In Henry County, the cases total 1,065, with 118 hospitalized and 26 dead; in Martinsville, there are 383 cases, with 61 hospitalized and 17 dead. In Franklin County, there were 343 cases, with 16 hospitalized and 3 dead, according to the VDH.

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