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Rockingham County Schools see a few number of cases during its first week back in class

Students are required to wear face masks while sitting inside the classroom.
Students are required to wear face masks while sitting inside the classroom.(WHSV)
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 6:36 PM EST
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — On Monday, middle and elementary school students in Rockingham County were finally able to return back to class physically for the first time in months.

Oskar Scheikl, division superintendent, said after visiting many schools throughout the division this week, students appeared to have kept to guidelines set by the school to lower the chance of spread in school buildings.

Some of these guidelines require desks to be spaced out from another and students needing to wear face masks at all times.

“It’s an ongoing process of making sure that everyone wears their mask all day long,” Scheikl said. “You know the schools that I’ve visited, I haven’t seen a single student or teacher break protocol and not have had a mask on. That’s the key strategy and distancing them.”

While students appeared to have stuck with the guidelines, there were still some COVID-19 cases between staff and students that were reported to the central office.

According to the division’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are more than a dozen active cases between staff and students.

Scheikl said this is something the school board planned to happen as far back as this summer. He said all of the currently active cases were contracted outside of school buildings and not in classrooms.

“For us, it’s really important to keep our eyes on the numbers, and again make sure the community knows,” Scheikl said. " Up to this point, we’re not aware since we brought the students back, back in September, that we have had a single case of transmission.”

Something Scheikl is emphasizing is the need for families to limit social gatherings during Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays to prevent an increase in cases in the community.

He said if too many staff members at some point test positive for the coronavirus, it is likely each school will individually return virtually, much like Shenandoah County Public Schools have done.

Scheikl said at this point, they have not received enough positive cases to consider that option.

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