BCS Superintendent: COVID cases, exposures amongst staff, not students

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A third school in Bladen County is now closed for at least two weeks due to COVID-19. The district’s superintendent says students will be doing remote learning for now.

Due to a number of positive COVID cases and exposures reported over the last few days, Bladenboro Middle School joins East Arcadia School and Dublin Primary School is temporarily closing.

“When we make a decision to close, it has everything to do with if we have the proper personnel, or the right number of personnel to supervise students,” Superintendent Dr. Robert Taylor.

Taylor says there are 10 positive COVID-19 cases among staff members throughout the district.

“We’ve had no students who have been positive at school,” he said. “We have had students who have tested positive who were outside of the school.”

Between positive cases, exposures and unrelated absences, Taylor says they do not have enough staff members to keep schools open right now.

Some people in town say they want to see kids back in school, but safely, and think everyone in the county needs to take the necessary precautions to help keep schools open.

“I do commend the local school district for taking extra precautions to make sure there are no more break outs,” Michael Leinwand, who works in Bladen County, said. “But I definitely think it’s very important to get the kids in the classroom.”

For now, Taylor says students in these three schools will be learning virtually, and the district is working to make sure internet access is available.

“We have a number of hot spot locations that are community hot spots, around Bladen County where parents can go to access,” Taylor said. “We have nearly 300 hot spots that we can give students.”

Taylor know a lot of their kids live in rural areas though, and face internet outages often times. He says there will be alternative work children can complete during this time.

“Students will still have access to packet information,” he said.

He says they plan to stay the course with having grades Pre-K through 4 under Plan A, and grades 5 through 12 under Plan B, and will evaluate each school on an individual basis.

He asks everyone to do their part and follow safety precautions in order to keep the number of cases and exposures down.

“They’ve got to practice social distancing,” Taylor said. “They’ve got to follow the protocols. They’ve got to avoid super spreader events.”

While schools are closed, Taylor says students can still pick up meals if they need to.

As long as there aren’t any new COVID cases and exposures, Taylor says they hope these three schools can reopen in two weeks.

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