ACPS, CCS tracking COVID-19 cases among students and staff

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Albemarle County Public Schools and Charlottesville City Schools are reporting several coronavirus cases among students and staff. Both the city and county have new COVID-19 trackers that show you how many cases they’re seeing, and in which schools.

“In this first week of school, we’ve had now 17 cases of students or staff in which they’ve reported a positive COVID-19 test,” ACPS Spokesperson Phil Giaramita said.

Since the first day of school, most tracked cases in the county have been among elementary students. Charlottesville’s tracker shows eight student cases and nine staff cases. Beth Baptist with CCS says five of those cases involve students that have not been learning in-person.

“The first question we ask is, was the student or staff member vaccinated?” Baptist said. “That kind of takes us down one road or the other.”

In Albemarle County, those who test positive or who are in close contact with someone who does, need to isolate for at least 10 days. Giaramita says if you’re vaccinated, you don’t have to quarantine.

“They do have to get a test within three to five days, and they are asked to monitor their symptoms,” Giaramita said.

Students who test positive are sent virtual work to be completed while out of school. CCS says if a teacher gets sick, however, what happens next depends on their vaccination status.

“If the staff member has been vaccinated, it will be a paid leave and they won’t have to use their sick leave. If they’re not vaccinated, they will have to use their sick leave,” Baptist said.

Both districts say mitigation strategies - like masking and social distancing - prevent transmission. What may be the biggest help to keep students safe and school doors open, both say, is the vaccine.

“A year ago we didn’t have that. Not only are our vaccination rates among children between the ages of 12 and 18... we’re approaching 80% of children in those categories that are fully vaccinated,” Giaramita said

“Communicate with us, stay home if you’re sick, get vaccinated. If we can get people to do those three things, then we can do the best that we can to keep everybody safe,” Baptist said.

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