WEST COLOMBIA, SC (WIS) – Like many districts in the Midlands, Lexington School District 2 is grappling with the fight against COVID-19 outbreaks in its classrooms.
The district recently upgraded four schools to virtual learning: Cayce Elementary School, Northside Middle, Wood Elementary, and Pine Ridge Middle. They made this change due to the impact of the virus on students, staff, and security protocols.
Cayce and Northside returned to the in-person learning yesterday, and Wood and Pine Ridge are scheduled to return on Monday.
L2 also instituted a mandate temporary mask in district schools, which started last Friday and lasts until the end of October.
At West Columbia Airport High School, a grandparent is concerned about the safety of his grandson and his family due to what he calls a lack of social distancing at school.
Without changing safety protocols, Gerald Lebby fears his grandson will catch COVID at school.
“By catching the virus you know he could get sick, possibly die or bring him home to us: me, his grandfather, his mother, his brothers, sisters,” he said.
He said his grandson chose not to have lunch in the cafeteria due to overcrowding.
Lebby and his grandson are vaccinated, but he has expressed fears that his grandson will interact with unvaccinated students, potentially catch a breakthrough case and bring it home.
Part of Lebby’s concerns stem from the fact that he has underlying health issues, which make him more susceptible to a severe bout with COVID, and that he has friends and relatives who have died from the virus.
According to a study published by the CDC Last week, among adults vaccinated with breakthrough cases that landed them in hospital, around 71% had at least three underlying health issues.
L2 last digits show that currently more than 100 airport high school students are stuck at home. 31 students test positive for COVID and 77 are actively quarantined.
In response to Lebby’s concerns, the district sent this statement: “We have actually seen a slight decrease in the number of positives in our data for the airport in the last 2 days of reporting with almost 10 student cases. fewer positive and the number of students in quarantine has almost fallen. half. At the airport, we use a number of health and safety protocols that we launched last year, including social distancing wherever possible, drawing on a number of different resources. “
Lebby says the return of the Mask tenure helps ease some of his nerves, but he still thinks the school should shift to online learning like other district schools.
“Back to virtual with schooling,” he said. “And protect the kids because you know they’re saying, ‘Hey look, the kids are our biggest problem, and our concerns are with them. And I mean how can your worries be for them when you don’t have a security protocol in place? You say you did it, but I say you didn’t.
The district statement continues: “We are using the 5% rule as a guideline for moving to temporary distance learning. This is when 5% of a school’s student body is positive for COVID-19 or has a tendency. A school may also switch to temporary distance learning when there are issues with the appropriate staffing of the school. “
Libby believes this metric is unacceptable.
“I mean what you do, you play with the lives of children, and you play with the lives of their families,” he said. “I don’t think you know you should be putting me and my family or someone else’s family in danger.”
L2 says positive students and quarantines are also down districtwide in the past two days of reporting. They attribute this to temporary distance learning at some schools and say they expect those numbers to continue to improve now that face coverings are needed again.
The city of West Columbia announced this week that it will provide a $ 50,000 grant to L2 for the prevention of COVID and the application of its recent mask mandate.
The district says that “our goal is to keep students in school, and we know we are moving in the right direction in this regard.”
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