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Checking in with tri-county schools: NHCS reports 100 Covid-19 cases, some may be unaccounted for [Free]

New Hanover County Schools reported 100 cases of Covid-19 the week of Feb. 1-5.

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — New Hanover County Schools reported 100 cases of Covid-19 among its students and staff the week of Feb. 1-5, including 12 individuals at Isaac Bear Early College High, according to the district’s reporting.

A total of 205 people are quarantining after being exposed to the virus at NHCS locations.

Related: New Hanover County Schools to consider reopening elementary schools fully

Since NHCS launched its reporting dashboard — which is where Port City Daily obtains data for its weekly updates — the school system has been met with skepticism about the accuracy of its reporting. Administrators said the school system only posts cases that are self-reported by parents to the schools, which means some positive tests are unreported.

Director of Student Support Services Kristen Jackson, who manages the dashboard, said some students will have Covid-19 and others will know about it, but the school does not. This may lead people to believe the numbers are intentionally inaccurate.

“We’re working really, really hard to be transparent,” Jackson said. “I just report the numbers that are reported to us, and I feel really good about their accuracy – if we know about it.”

The dashboard is updated Fridays by 5 p.m. Cases reported on Friday afternoons may not be included until the following Friday. (Principals sometimes send notifications to families about cases that were reported too late to be included on the Friday dashboard.)

When a Covid-19 case is reported, the school nurse logs it in a database and Jackson receives an email from the principal with the same information. Jackson said she meets with school nurses two to three times a week to review the reports.

“We make sure that we’re getting everything that’s coming into the school,” Jackson said. “So we have a checks and balance there.”

Last week, NHCS reported 20 Covid-19 cases at Laney High School. Jackson said administrators and nurses met to discuss the rise in cases and, based on where each student thought they had been exposed, determined the majority were not connected. A couple of cases were linked to sleepovers, she said, but most students who are infected catch the virus at home.

Currently, there are no reported clusters (five or more connected cases) in New Hanover County public schools.

All schools in the county are operating under Plan B, meaning students attend in-person instruction only twice a week and participate remotely on the other days.

After Gov. Roy Cooper and state health officials urged districts statewide to resume daily in-person classes for elementary students, the New Hanover County Board of Education will take up the issue Feb. 10. The public can watch the 6 p.m. meeting remotely on NHCS Youtube. Attendance at the Board of Education Center is limited to 25 people.

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.

Alderman Elementary – 1
Anderson Elementary – 1
Blair Elementary – 1
Castle Hayne Elementary – 1
Codington Elementary – 1
College Park Elementary – 4
College Road Early Childhood Center – 4
Eaton Elementary – 1
Forest Hills Elementary – 1
Freeman Elementary – 1
The International School at Gregory – 2
Holly Tree Elementary – 1
Johnson PreK Center – 1
Lake Forest Academy – 1
Murrayville Elementary – 2
Ogden Elementary – 1
Parsley Elementary – 1
Pine Valley Elementary – 1
Porters Neck Elementary – 1
Snipes Elementary – 2
Sunset Park Elementary – 3
Mary C Williams Elementary – 1
Winter Park Elementary – 3
Wrightsboro Elementary – 2
Wrightsville Beach Elementary – 1

Holly Shelter Middle – 1
Murray Middle – 4
Myrtle Grove Middle – 2
Noble Middle – 5
Roland-Grise Middle – 9
Trask Middle – 1
Williston Middle – 5

Ashley High – 8
Career Readiness Academy at Mosley – 6
Hoggard High – 1
Isaac Bear Early College High – 12
Laney High – 1
New Hanover High – 5

Central Office
Communication and Outreach – 1

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Brunswick County Schools

As of Friday morning, Brunswick County Schools (BCS) is reporting 53 active Covid-19 cases, including one in the central office, and more than 400 quarantines, according to the district’s Covid-19 dashboard.

The weekly numbers come from the Brunswick County Health Department and only includes positive cases that were at BCS sites.

To date, BCS has recorded 269 positive cases. Of those, 216 have recovered.

Related: Brunswick County Schools asks Gov. Roy Cooper to prioritize school staff for vaccines

BCS’ elementary school students are attending school in-person five days a week under the governor’s Plan A, while middle and high school students come into buildings twice a week – Plan B.

Two Brunswick elementary schools – Union and Jessie Mae Monroe – were 100% remote this past week to stop the spread of Covid-19 in the buildings. The schools will resume in-person instruction Feb. 16.

Belville Elementary – 2
Bolivia Elementary – 2
Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary – 7
Lincoln Elementary – 3
Union Elementary – 12
Virginia Williamson Elementary – 5

Shallotte Middle – 3
South Brunswick Middle – 1

North Brunswick High – 9
West Brunswick High – 6
South Brunswick High – 1
The COAST – 1

Pender County Schools

Pender County Schools’ most recent Covid-19 update is from the week of Jan. 25-31. As of then, the school system was reporting 26 active Covid-19 cases and 153 precautionary quarantines. One of the cases was in the central office.

The school system is operating its elementary schools under Plan A, meaning students may participate in in-person instruction all five days of the school week. Middle- and high-school students are learning in the hybrid model, Plan B.

At least 399 people in Pender County Schools have tested positive. Of those, 373 have recovered.

The district updates its numbers every Monday with any positive cases that it is aware of, according to Pender County Schools spokesperson Alex Riley.

The district also requires students coming to campus for any reason to report if they test positive for Covid-19. However, the district also receives information from the Pender County Health Department when cases are connected to district employees and students.

Cape Fear Elementary – 3
C.F. Pope Elementary – 2
Malpass Corner Elementary – 1
North Topsail Elementary – 1

Penderlea School – 1

Cape Fear Middle – 2
Surf City Middle – 2
Topsail Middle – 3
West Pender Middle – 2

Heide Trask High – 3
Pender High – 4
Topsail High – 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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