Saturday, October 24, 2020

Lafayette School Board Discusses COVID-19 Cases, Quarantines

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor

The Lafayette County School Board met Tuesday night during a special called meeting to discuss issues related to COVID-19; however, no changes were made to the school’s schedule.

The students are currently on a hybrid system and split up into Red and Gold teams based on their last names. The students attend school two days a week on alternating days, and do online work the other three days. The current schedule has all students returning together to attend school five days a week in a traditional setting on Sept. 8.

The board took no action to further extend the Sept. 8 date; however, two of the Board members said they would like to have students back sooner despite recent positive cases of COVID-19.

On Sunday, the district announced it was quarantining the entire fourth-grade class after three fourth-grade teachers tested positive. One student also tested positive.

Superintendent Adam Push said he learned about the positive test results on Sunday afternoon and in the interest of keeping students and other teachers safe, made the call to quarantine the close to 200 fourth-graders. 

Board member Mike Gooch was in favor of the fourth-grade students returning to school. Gooch wanted to know how the teachers contracted the virus while they were supposed to be adhering to the school’s social distancing and face-covering guidelines.

“That’s 200 kids not in school,” he said. “I want to know how they got it, and I want the administration to figure it out and see if the policies we have in place are enough.”

Pugh said he didn’t know whether the teachers contracted the virus in school or out of school. According to Pugh, even if the students were not quarantined at home, the district does not have enough staff or substitutes to cover all of the classes.

Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Ryals said the district has protocols in place; however, finding out about the teachers on a Sunday afternoon didn’t give the district enough time to complete contact-tracing, and the safest decision was to keep the students home.

“We wanted to prevent a massive outbreak,” she said, “in the school and for the families at home.”

The district has had a total of 10 positive cases since August – one student, two staff members and six teachers. The staff members and two of the six teachers tested positive before students returned to school.