SCHD says no marked increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases with local school re-openings

Updated: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:50 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Public health officials in Shelby County said they do not believe school re-openings have resulted in increased cases of COVID-19 among children locally.

“We can’t correlate a direct uptick in cases to schools reopening,” said Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter.

The department said for the most part, districts that have resumed in-person education are carrying it out well, with proper social distancing and sanitizing practices.

Officials said cases within districts are to be expected, but with added testing and contact tracing in the county, they’re equipped to handle them.

“We do anticipate that there will be cases in the school. But how quickly the health department gets notice, how quickly the schools take action, and the health department takes action will actually contain those numbers to very small,” said Haushalter.

This week, St. George and CBHS both announced their high school students will go all virtual temporarily as a result of COVID-19 cases.

Harding Academy sent high school students home for two weeks in August after a COVID-19 cluster was identified, and Collierville High School did the same earlier this month.

More than two dozen positive cases would eventually emerge from the Collierville cluster. CHS resumed in-person learning on Sept. 14.

“We haven’t seen the amount of case frequency like we did during the beginning of the school year on August 17,” said Mario Hogue, with Collierville Schools. “I continue to say please be agile. Please be nimble. This is just a very odd year for schools and for education across the board.”

At a board meeting Tuesday night a group of Collierville High teachers asked for the district to make the high school 100 percent virtual learning citing concerns over their workloads.

Students have the option of attending Collierville High completely virtual or in a hybrid model that blends at home and in-person learning.

Hogue said the district is listening to the concerns raised by those teachers. The board made no changes to the instructional modes currently offered at CHS.

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