Forsyth County Schools reported 105 active COVID-19 cases among students and staff in the week following Thanksgiving break — the highest number of cases reported so far this year.
Included in the 105 reported cases, six transportation staff, four district support staff and one Academies of Creative Education member also tested positive alongside students and on-campus staff last week.
While many parents had expressed worries over the past few weeks about cases going up as students return from holiday breaks, FCS Spokeswoman Jennifer Caracciolo said that the spike in reported cases last week was caused in part by students and staff not reporting positive COVID-19 tests results to the schools during the break.
The district reported a total of only 32 positive cases on its website during the break, a significant drop from the 70 cases reported during the previous week. Caracciolo said this was because more individuals actually did test positive during the week, but they waited to report their positive tests to the schools until after the break.
She said this caused a much larger uptick in cases the following Monday and Tuesday.
Denmark High School students also returned to school last Monday after the school was forced to temporarily close starting on Nov. 11. During their first week back, the school saw a report of five new COVID-19 cases among students and staff, and those who tested positive did not have contact with any other students or staff at the school.
While the number of reported COVID-19 cases continues to climb in the district and Forsyth County community, the number of students and staff having to stay home and quarantine has dropped since before the break.
This past week, the district reported that 1.8% of face-to-face students and staff had faced direct exposure to an individual who had tested positive for the virus. Out of 41,296 students and staff, that means nearly 800 individuals were forced to quarantine in the past week.
Before the break, the district reported that 3.7% of students and staff had faced direct exposure, or more than 1,500 individuals.
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Starting on Monday, Dec. 7, students now also have different options for how long they want to stay at home and quarantine after being directly exposed to another individual who has tested positive. The new options allow them to head back to school as early as one week after exposure if they can provide the school with a negative COVID-19 test.
Caracciolo said that the district made these changes based on new guidance recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Public Health.
For more information about FCS guidelines and reported COVID-19 cases, visit the FCS website.