Lincoln Co. parents raise concerns about July teacher event after recent coronavirus cases

After four cases were confirmed within the district, one parent said she believes the spread began at a district event in July.

Posted: Aug 11, 2020 8:24 PM
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 11:31 PM

There are no additional cases at Lincoln County Schools after two students and two staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

Still, parents are concerned. One parent said she's relieved her child is enrolled in virtual learning.

Lauren Porter said she's satisfied with the decision, especially after two of those cases were confirmed at South Lincoln -- where her daughter had been enrolled.

Porter told me she's worried the spread began at a district back to school event in late July.

"You could easily see that they weren't wearing masks and there was quite a few of them put together in one place,” she said of pictures posted of the event on Twitter.

The photos show teachers sitting close together, without masks. Porter told me she doesn't feel that strong enough precautions were taken.

In an email to WAAY 31, Lincoln County Schools Superintendent Bill Heath said: “The annual opening in-service was moved from a smaller venue to the auditorium at Lincoln Central Academy so teachers in attendance could social distance. The auditorium seats approximately 900 and the number of teachers in the auditorium that day was approximately 300. Holding that event outside was not an option.”

Heath's statement also noted there was additional seating outside for anyone who wanted and said masks were encouraged, but not required.

Pictures show only a handful of people wearing masks.

Now, with dozens in quarantine, Porter says she is glad her family decided on virtual learning before school started.

"It happened so quickly, so I'm more relieved that we did the virtual learning … just because it's also stressful when you're trying to move your child from the school to virtual,” she explained.

Porter said her family wanted to take steps to ensure the virus didn't get brought home and, for her, virtual learning was an easy choice.

A friend of Porter’s is now trying to pull her child out of school after someone in her daughter's class at South Lincoln tested positive.

According to the district, schools would automatically have to shift to hybrid learning if active cases in Lincoln County surpassed 174 -- about half of 1% of the county population. As of Tuesday, the county has 144 active cases.

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