Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tri-county schools check-in: Over 300 Covid-19 cases reported in New Hanover, more than 130 in Brunswick

New Hanover County Schools is reporting its highest case counts yet at 302, in the first two days of the school year. (Port City Daily/File)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — New Hanover County Schools has reported the most Covid-19 cases to date, according to the district’s online public dashboard. It is updated every Friday by the New Hanover County Health Department.

“This data is not entered in real-time, but is verified by school nurses and other health department officials before releasing to NHCS,” a note on the dashboard advised. “Therefore, weekly totals may not be reflected by each Friday and may be added to the next week’s totals.”

For the week of Jan. 1-7, it shows 302 positive cases from students and staff.

The district explained on the dashboard the health department did not send over the breakdown of cases by school, though it sorted 31 quarantines.

Anderson — 3
Codington — 1
College Road Early Childhood Center — 1
Freeman Elementary — 10
Snipes Elementary — 10
Murray Middle — 5
Trask Middle — 1

New Hanover County Schools follows the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Strong Schools Toolkit, which advises that fully vaccinated individuals who become exposed to Covid-19 but don’t have symptoms will not need to quarantine.

“Additionally, if an individual is masked when exposed to a COVID positive individual who is also masked, the exposed individual does not need to quarantine (regardless of vaccination status),” the dashboard noted.

A mask mandate was in place for New Hanover Schools faculty, staff, and students until Dec. 6, 2021, when the school board voted to drop it. At the time, the percent positivity on returned Covid-19 tests hovered around health officials’ goal of 5%. Students were in school two weeks without having to wear masks before the holiday break.

They returned on Thursday, Jan. 7, once again required to wear masks. The board voted to reinstate the mandate during its Tuesday, Jan. 4 meeting, as the percent positivity on countywide Covid-19 tests was trending at 23.4%, with an average of 215 cases per day. (Athletes participating in sports won’t have to be masked while playing.)

The last time cases were this high in New Hanover County schools was Sept. 6, 2021, with 224 Covid-19 positive tests and 241 quarantines.

Brunswick County Schools

Brunswick County Schools is reporting over 400 quarantines and 134 active Covid-19 cases, up from 50 reported at the school board meeting Wednesday evening. The board voted unanimously to keep masks optional.

Data is reported on Brunswick County Schools’ dashboard weekly. Below is the breakdown of positive cases in each school. Two cases have been reported in central services and administration.

Elementary
Belville — 7
Bolivia Elementary — 2
Lincoln Elementary — 5
Southport Elementary — 4
Supply Elementary — 3
Town Creek Elementary — 13
Union Elementary — 5
Jessie Mae Monroe — 3
Virginia Williamson Elementary — 5

Middle
Cedar Grove Middle — 2
Leland Middle — 10
Shallotte Middle — 4
South Brunswick Middle — 5
Town Creek Middle — 7
Waccamaw School —6

High
Early College High — 4
North Brunswick High — 22
South Brunswick High — 11
West Brunswick High — 14

Pender County Schools

Pender County Schools has not updated Covid-19 positive cases since Dec. 12-18, according to its latest report. The holiday break ended Jan. 7.

Its school board voted Dec. 28 to keep masks optional and will meet again Jan. 11 to take up the state-required monthly vote.


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Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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