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COVID-19 spread leads to return of virtual instruction for some Franklin County students

(WAFF 48 News)
Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 5:09 PM EDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A community spread of COVID-19 means temporary closures of some schools in Franklin County.

All-virtual instruction is returning this week for all secondary students (grades 6-12) from Thursday, October 8 through Friday, October 16.

According to Franklin County Public Schools, this is because of “community spread of COVID-19 and the difficulty to provide adequate classroom supervision for Franklin County High School, Benjamin Franklin Middle School and the Gereau Center.”

Students will return to a normal schedule Monday, October 19.

This does not affect elementary students, according to the district.

Students who are part of self-contained Special Education classes at FCHS and BFMS will still report to school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Students who transport to schools outside Franklin County will continue with in-person instruction as normal.

The district wants the public to know “the reason to go completely virtual does not mean that the virus is being transmitted within our schools. In fact, we believe that there has been no transmission while at school since the opening due to the proactive measures in place.”

However, the Franklin County community has had a significant rise in cases of COVID-19 and is now considered “community spread” by the Virginia Department of Health. The “community spread” designation means people have gotten sick without any known contact with an infected person.

According to the district and the West Piedmont Health District, “It is essential that persons infected with the virus isolate themselves until 24 hours past the time of last symptoms, like fever. Those who have been in close contact with the infected person - shared the same air for more than 15 minutes, touched common surfaces, etc., are cautioned to quarantine for 14 days.”

Due to the numbers of community spread cases, the district is asking increasing numbers of staffers to quarantine and teach from home. That still, however, leaves a deficiency of coverage for the remaining hybrid students.

The district says, "We believe temporarily reverting to full virtual learning will allow our current quarantining staff to finish their quarantine and it will curb some of the greater community issues from potentially spreading within the schools.

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