ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. – As of Tuesday, October 6, Graham County School buildings will move to a fully-remote or Plan C for three weeks. In other words, the school buildings will be closed to students, staff, and the public until October 26.
Superintendent Angie Pennington Knight released the following statement, “Due to the community spread of coronavirus and the high numbers that we are seeing outside of the community that has trickled indirectly into the school system, we have chosen to go ahead and do remote learning for three weeks.”
All students from pre-k to high school will participate in online learning until the school buildings are reopened. Over the next three weeks, the school system and the health department will monitor the spread of COVID-19 in Graham County.
Knight asks students’ families to wash their hands, social distance, and stay home to mitigate the spread.
“We need our kids to be here. You need your kids to be with us and we want to do everything we can to get back on track,” Knight added.
On October 7, Robbinsville Elementary issued a release that it would return to Plan A on October 26, meaning its K-6 students will move Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday in-person instruction. Wednesday will be a cleaning day.
In a release from Graham County Schools and the health department, the organizations stated that a cluster of cases has not arisen in the school yet, but the community spread continues to limit available staff. These individuals are either testing positive or in quarantine from close contact with a positive. However, students appear to be “faring better than the adults in decreased transmission.” Still, the availability of teachers, substitutes, and staff is extremely low.
Parents should expect decisions to be made in “quick succession to either close the schools or remain open in some capacity.” The decision to close the school isn’t taken lightly and the school system, as well as the health department, believe it was time to close the schools. The organizations ask for patience and courtesy and for parents to update their contact information.
The health department stresses that everyone washes their hands, wears their mask, and waits six feet apart.
Currently, Graham County has 209 positive cases with 51 tests awaiting results.
If anyone exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the health department recommends they remain in isolation until:
• At least 24 hours have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND
• At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Anyone who comes in close contact with a positive case is recommended to quarantine for 14 days and if symptoms develop follow the above guidelines. Testing is available at the health department, Smoky Mountain Urgent Care, and Tallulah Community Health Center.
For more information, please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus and NCDHHS’ website at www.ncdhhs.gov/coronavirus, which will also include future positive COVID-19 test results in North Carolina. The Graham County Department of Public Health Facebook page also provides regular updates.
If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828-479-7900.