COAL CITY, WV (WOAY) – It has been two weeks since Raleigh County students returned to school full time and in-person. But already many are back to remote learning because some students have tested positive for COVID-19. And a few of those cases have been reported at Independence High School in Coal City.
“Last Monday we started getting some calls from parents, reports that students were home sick. Obviously, they had started testing, and probably around Tuesday, we started getting positive testing back. But at that point we started our process of contact tracing,” says Independence High principal, Shawn Hawkins.
Like all schools across the state, Independence High School is following the proper procedures to get the situation under control if or when any positive COVID-19 cases do arise. And while at school, students must follow designated seating charts and strict social distancing guidelines.
“We came back five days a week, we made sure that all seats were three feet apart, which was the guidance from the state department,” she says. “Teachers have seating charts, we even have assigned seats at lunch, that way we can always find out who was sitting in what locations.”
Whenever someone tests positive at school, contact tracing begins immediately. The school wants to know when the student’s symptoms began and where they’ve been in the last 48-hours. They also wan to know if the student was riding a bus, who they sat with, and who they spent time within and out of the school building. The school then turns the case over to the county who then contacts all the necessary people that need to be quarantined.
“You know, Independence High School, I feel like we’ve done everything we can, from the assigned seating to the spacing, to monitoring, to hand-sanitizing, and our masks,” Hawkins says. It’s concerning for me all across our community, not just in the schools, but I think we have to continue with what we’ve been doing.”