The Barrow County School System continued to have newly-confirmed COVID-19 infections and related quarantines, but did see a drop in the number of impacted students and employees from the previous two weeks, according to the latest weekly data released by district officials Thursday, Oct. 15.

From Oct. 8-14, three students and two employees tested positive for COVID-19, while four students and four employees were quarantined due to a probable case. In addition, 97 students and 18 staffers were quarantined as a precaution due to direct contact with someone with a confirmed-positive test or probable case.

The total number of students impacted for the week (104) was down more than half from 276 the previous week, while the number of impacted employees dropped from 38 to 24. The previous week’s student number was driven up by 130 students at Westside Middle School having to quarantine. Westside had seven students kept out of school Wednesday, Oct. 14 for COVID-related reasons.

Elsewhere around the district, Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy had 24 students kept out or sent home Wednesday; Russell Middle School had 23 students impacted on Oct. 9 and Winder-Barrow High School had 17 impacted Oct. 8. Yargo Elementary, Apalachee High School, Haymon-Morris Middle, Bear Creek Middle and Bramlett Elementary also had COVID-related quarantines reported over the past week.

Twenty-two out of the district’s roughly 14,100 students have tested positive for COVID-19, while 621 have been quarantined since Aug. 17, the first day of the academic year. The school district began the year entirely online, transitioned to a hybrid model Sept. 8 and then moved to in-person instruction five days a week Sept. 21. Of the student population, 26 percent were enrolled for 100-percent virtual learning, either for the first nine weeks or entire first semester.

Since July 27 when teachers and staffers began returning to campuses for pre-planning, 53 staffers have tested positive for coronavirus, and 338 have gone into quarantine as a precaution at some point.

The district is not disclosing information on when students are able to return to the buildings, as officials have noted the amount of time a student has to quarantine varies depending on whether they exhibit symptoms and other factors.

Officials have also declined to disclose further information about the individual school numbers, citing privacy concerns and multiple factors associated with contact-tracing.

Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health have said they won’t publicly disclose details about any outbreaks at schools that are being investigated, but have requested that all public schools submit weekly reports.

The discretion has been left up to individual school districts to share with their communities the impact of COVID-19 on their facilities, and Barrow County has been releasing a weekly update with school-by-school student numbers and district-wide staff numbers.

The district has a mask-wearing mandate and several other mitigation measures in effect at its facilities and has 140 employees trained in contact tracing through a Johns Hopkins University program.

The parent of any student who has a positive/probable case or has close contact with a person with one either is contacted immediately by the school with a phone call and follow-up letter. Students not effected are not contacted.

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