COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Muscogee County School District (MCSD) is reporting 12 active COVID-19 cases among students learning in-person.
That’s a slight increase from the four cases reported the previous week, but still very low with less then half of a percent of in-person students testing positive.
Mercedes Parham, MCSD director of communications and open records officer, said they’ve been able to keep the number of positive cases so low because they’re reinforcing safety expectations, including wearing a mask, frequently washing or sanitizing hands, and students or employees staying home if they’re sick or potentially exposed to the virus.
The 12 active cases are out of the 14,775 students learning in-person.
“We are very pleased to see overall that the number of cases are very small. Less than one half a percent for students and employees in our school district. But whenever we do have an incident, we are going to follow our protocols in terms of referring them for either isolation or for treatment," said MCSD Superintendent Dr. David Lewis.
The district reports 123 in-person students are self-quarantining or isolating. Parham explained the notification in place for parents whose children have tested positive or potentially been exposed to COVID-19.
“That is a one-on-one communication with those parents. They receive an exclusion letter and it outlines the details of the next steps they should take, and then we of course, are in constant communication with the public health department to take the appropriate steps based on their levels of precaution as well," she said.
As far as reporting specifics, Parham said they are following the Georgia Department of Public Health’s guidelines for reporting schools.
“We are not going to release information for any school locations that have less than 10 positive COVID-19 cases," Parham said.
In order to continue to return to school safely, Parham said it’s extremely important for parents not to send their kids to school if they are sick.
“With any type of symptom of illness, in particular, please don’t send them to school knowing that they have had a fever and you’re using fever reducing medication, because once they arrive at the school, that fever reducing medication will eventually wear off," said Parham.
“It’s incumbent upon all of us to make sure that we keep our children home if they’re not feeling well and the same for our employees," Lewis said.
Parham said it’s important for parents to understand the mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol the district follows versus isolation.
“That time period is really critical for those who live in the same household. If you are exposed to one person in your household and that cycle has ended, but then another person becomes exposed or ill, then that cycle of exposure starts over," said Parham.
Parents who want to change their child’s current learning preference choice for the next nine weeks have until Wednesday, October 7 at noon to directly contact the school via email or phone. Parents who want to keep the same learning preference do not need to do anything. The next nine weeks will be from October 14 through December 22.