Monday, April 22, 2024

Checking in with tri-county schools: Laney up to 20 Covid-19 cases; Brunswick confirms 2 clusters [Free]

New Hanover County Schools reported 97 Covid-19 cases among students and staff this week. (Port City Daily photo/file)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Ninety-seven staff and students in New Hanover County Schools tested positive for Covid-19 this week, including 20 individuals at Laney High School. One hundred and five people were assigned to quarantine for exposure within the buildings, according to the district’s reporting.

Trask Middle, Murray Middle, Murrayville Elementary and New Hanover High are all reporting five or more cases this week.

In emails, spokespeople for NHCS and New Hanover County stated there are no identified clusters at this time. A cluster is confirmed when health officials determine five or more cases are linked by time or proximity, but Kate Oelslager​, New Hanover County communications and outreach coordinator, said in an email the Covid-19 cases originated through contacts and events outside of the schools.

“Because transmission of the virus is not occurring in the schools, the recent increase in cases is not considered a cluster,” Oelslager continued. “Public Health remains in close contact and engaged with the schools through our Public Health School Nurses and Community Health team, providing guidance in accordance to the CDC and the NC Stronger Schools Toolkit.”

Brandon Shope, media relations coordinator for NHCS, said the school system is continuing to clean its facilities and encourage safety protocols.

NHCS is currently operating all schools under Plan B, meaning students are allowed in schools in-person only up to twice a week and learn remotely the rest of the days. It’s still unknown when the district will reopen elementary schools to students five days a week under Plan A.

Related: New Hanover County commissioners reaction to school board reopening decision poses questions

NHCS has recorded 464 positive cases in its schools since Oct. 12, the day students returned to in-person school on a part-time basis.

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Alderman – 1
Anderson – 2
Bellamy – 1
Blair – 4
Carolina Beach – 2
Castle Hayne – 1
Codington – 1
College Park – 1
Eaton – 2
Freeman – 1
Johnson PreK Center – 3
Lake Forest Academy – 1
Murrayville – 5
Ogden – 2
Parsley – 4
Pine Valley – 1
Porters Neck – 2
Snipes – 1
Mary C Williams – 2
Winter Park – 2
Wrightsboro – 1
Wrightsville Beach – 1


Murray – 5
Myrtle Grove – 1
Roland-Grise – 1
Trask – 7
Williston – 3


Ashley – 4
Career Readiness Academy at Mosley – 1
Hoggard – 4
Isaac Bear Early College – 2
Laney – 20
New Hanover – 5

Central office

Operations – 3


Two Brunswick County elementary schools are transitioning to 100% remote learning after clusters were discovered in the buildings.

Union Elementary students will start 100% remote learning on Monday, Feb. 1, and Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary made the switch Friday, Jan. 29.

Students at both schools will return in person on Tuesday, Feb. 16.

Related: Union, Jessie Mae Monroe elementary schools close buildings to students due to Covid-19 spread

BCS’ elementary school students have been attending schools five days a week under the governor’s Plan A. However, toward the end of the fall semester, Leland Middle and Town Creek Elementary endured clusters. That led the school board to delay the building reopenings at the start of the spring semester.

All students learned from home for the first two weeks, up until Jan. 19.

Middle and high school students have come into buildings only twice a week under Plan B. Gov. Roy Cooper has not yet allowed secondary schools to open fully.

Related: How Town Creek Elementary became the largest Covid-19 cluster in NC

BCS is reporting 31 active Covid-19 cases and 274 quarantines as of Jan. 29, according to the school district’s dashboard.

To date, BCS has recorded a total of 226 positive cases. Of those, 195 are recovered.


Belville – 1
Bolivia – 1
Jessie Mae Monroe – 8
Town Creek – 1
Union – 5
Virginia Williamson – 2


Waccamaw – 1


Leland – 1
Town Creek – 1


North Brunswick – 3
South Brunswick – 3
West Brunswick – 4


In Pender County, elementary schools are in Plan A while the upper-grade levels are operating under Plan B.

The district’s most recent update is from the week of Jan. 18-24. As of then, there were 28 active cases of Covid-19 and 122 people were quarantined due to exposure. Two of the cases were in the central office.

A total of 370 people in Pender County Schools have tested positive to date and 342 have recovered from the virus.


Cape Fear – 1
C.F. Pope – 5
Malpass Corner – 1
North Topsail – 2
Surf City – 1
Topsail – 1


Penderlea – 1


Burgaw – 2
Cape Fear – 3
Surf City – 1
West Pender – 1


Heide Trask – 5
Pender Early College – 1
Topsail – 1

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Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands
Alexandria Sands is a journalist covering New Hanover County and education. Before Port City Daily, she reported for the award-winning State Port Pilot in Southport. She graduated from UNC Charlotte and wrote for several Charlotte publications while there. When not writing, Williams is most likely in the gym, reading or spending time with her Golden Pyrenees. Reach her at or on Twitter @alexsands_

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