The Union County School District has had four positive cases of coronavirus in students and one in a staff member since school started Aug. 17, according to Superintendent Russell Taylor.

Three of the positive student cases were at East Union and one was at Myrtle, said Taylor.

The staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 was at East Union.

The rate of students and staff testing positive is less than 0.2 percent, said Taylor.

There are 43 students and six staff members in the school district quarantined for potentially being exposed to the coronavirus. Most of those quarantined were exposed to the virus off campus, said Taylor.

They must quarantine for 14 days.

The New Albany School District reported four positive COVID-19 cases in students. Two of them are from the elementary school and two from the high school, said Superintendent Dr. Lance Evans.

In addition, five staff members in the New Albany School District have tested positive for the coronavirus. Two of the staff members are from the high school and three from the elementary. 

There have been 62 students in quarantine in the New Albany School District for being in close contact to someone with the virus –44 from the elementary school, eight from the middle school and 10 from the high school.

Evans said he thinks the number of students and staff with the coronavirus has been kept low in his opinion. He said the hybrid schedule has helped keep the numbers low. Having fewer children in the school at one time allows for better social distancing, he said.

Furthermore, the New Albany School District is vigorously cleaning the schools. He also said the director of health services has done a good job.

Evans said he expects a decision to be made sometime next week in terms of when students may return to a traditional schedule.

The Union County School District is currently on a hybrid schedule in which students go to school for half days. An A group attends school in the morning and a B group comes to school in the afternoons.

This way the students are at school each day rather than going every other day to school, Taylor noted.

The A group attends school from 7:35 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., and the afternoon group comes at 12:30 p.m. and leaves and 3:50 p.m.

The students are also given work to do at home to meet the hours of instruction required by the state.

On Fridays, students go to school virtually.

The Union County School District plans to go back to a traditional schedule on Sept. 8.

While Taylor said he would like to see no students or staff with the coronavirus, he said he is pleased overall that the numbers have been kept low.

“I do think we’ve been able to keep it thus far to a low number,” Taylor said. “I think the hybrid schedule has helped that.”

Moreover, he said the school facilities and buses are being kept clean and safe. There is also an effort to keep people 6 feet apart.

There are roughly 2,900 students in the Union County School District, but over 300 of them are distant learning at this time.

He feels as though the school district’s return-to-school plan is working well. He said the school district’s staff has worked hard to keep the schools safe while educating children in a different manner.

Taylor said even when the students return to the traditional schedule there will still be precautionary measures in place to protect students and staff.

While the hybrid schedule has worked well, it does create an inconvenience for working parents. He said he appreciates the sacrifices the parents have made. 

The children also benefit from being in school on the traditional schedule, Taylor said. 

"We want to get them back in school on a traditional schedule," he said.

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