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We’re keeping track of the most up-to-date news about the corona virus in North Carolina. Check back for updates.

NC school system goes temporarily to remote learning, cites COVID-19 community spread

Students in the Stanly County Schools will learn remotely for two weeks due to increased community spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The school board voted 5-to-1 in favor of the move during an emergency meeting on Saturday, saying the health department recommended the switch to help curb the spread of the virus.

School board member Patty Crump read the motion, which said: “Due to increased community spread of COVID-19 and despite the efforts undertaken by the school system thus far, we have a coordinated recommendation from the Stanly County Health Department and Stanly County Schools’ administrative team to go full remote for a two-week period.”

The board broadcast its brief meeting live on Facebook, and members did not further discuss the motion before the vote.

North Stanly High School shifted to remote learning on Wednesday after “multiple” confirmed COVID-19 cases among staff were reported “in a short period of time,” The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

“At this time we are not aware of any students being considered a close contact to a positive staff member,” North Stanly officials posted on Facebook. The school moved to remote learning “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the post.

Per Saturday’s school board vote, all students in the system will begin learning remotely on Wednesday, Oct. 14, and not return to in-school instruction until Monday, Nov. 2. Teachers are to return on Friday, Oct. 30.

School board vice chairman Ryan McIntyre voted against the motion. After the vote, he told The Stanly News & Press the two-week period was irrelevant because the school system wasn’t part of the increased community spread.

According to its COVID-19 Dashboard, Stanly County had 2,237 total confirmed cases as of Friday, 192 more cases since Sept. 30.

Updates From This Week (October 18-October 24)

Wednesday, October 21

  • Governor Roy Cooper announced that North Carolina will remain paused in Phase 3 for three more weeks as health officials continue to monitor North Carolina’s viral trends. North Carolina has seen increased hospitalizations and trajectory of cases in recent weeks. Governor Cooper underscored the importance of wearing masks, social distancing, and using good judgment despite fatigue or frustration with the pandemic.
  • With North Carolina’s COVID-19 trends moving in the wrong direction, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Department of Public Safety sent a letter to local leaders asking them to help slow the spread of the virus by promoting the 3 Ws and considering local actions to improve compliance with executive orders. Read the press release.
  • In the past two weeks, North Carolina has seen an increase in COVID-19 clusters from social events and other gatherings such as parties, family gatherings, weddings and funerals according to a new weekly report the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services added to the NC COVID-19 Dashboard. The department has also released new guidance for private gatherings.
  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Division of Health Benefits (NC Medicaid) is extending temporary provider rate increases related to COVID-19 through the end of the federal COVID-19 public health emergency, which goes through Jan. 21, 2021. Read the press release.

Tuesday, October 20

  • The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services today added demographic data for hospitalizations to the NC COVID-19 Hospitalizations Demographics Dashboard. Data is provided by age, gender, race and ethnicity for patients who were newly admitted to the hospital and confirmed or suspected to be positive for COVID-19 at the time of admission. The data provides further insight into the different demographic groups being hospitalized due to COVID-19.
  • All North Carolina teachers and parents are invited to attend a free virtual conference on October 28 to help them navigate technology and remote learning. The REAL 2.0 (Remote Education & Learning) Conference is hosted by the North Carolina Business Committee for Education (NCBCE), a business-led, education nonprofit housed in the Governor’s Office. It will build upon the initial REAL Conference attended by more than 1,300 educators in August to learn about best practices for remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators from across the state are serving as content advisers for REAL 2.0. Sessions for parents will be available in both English and Spanish, and all sessions will include closed captioning.