CONCORD — After moving to Plan C due to a reported 17 positive COVID-19 tests at W.M. Irvin Elementary School, along with 95 quarantines, the numbers were halved over the following week, the district said in an email Tuesday.
According to the email, the Cabarrus Health Alliance has still been unable to find a specific link to the cases at the elementary school, but believes the likely cause is community spread. While the infection rate in Cabarrus County due to COVID-19 has been at its lowest level in months, at the most recent reporting, there were still more than 500 active cases, so there is still community spread in the area.
The large number of cases reported at W.M. Irvin also were seen because of a test going on at the school. The elementary school is one of several in the district participating in a rapid testing pilot where students and staffers identified to have symptoms of the virus receive rapid antigen tests that yield results within 15 minutes of laboratory testing. The school was able to identify those students who had symptoms and discover cases quickly.
In this case, the positive tests were discovered quickly and it appears there was no spread at the school. No cluster has been identified or reported at W.M. Irvin, according to CHA, and only one has been reported since allowing students back to school in October.
The district now reports there are fewer than five active cases at W.M. Irvin and 53 in quarantine.
“The CCS Facilities Department has completed deep cleaning and sanitizing the entire school and the buses that serve W.M. Irvin,” the email from the district reads. “The deep cleaning included the use of electro-static sprayers and cleaning agents recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, all of the air filters in the school have been replaced.”
All school districts in the state are now required to offer Plan A or B to students, according to Senate Bill 220. The bill required states to comply starting April 1, which was three weeks after Gov. Roy Cooper signed it into law.
Cabarrus County Schools will offer Plan A or C to all students starting April 13. That’s after spring break and a teacher work day on April 12. All elementary students have been offered Plan A since the middle of March, and W.M. Irvin has had at least some students in Plan A since the middle of February.
It is unclear if W.M. Irvin will return to Plan C or Plan A next week due to the current situation at the school.
“We are encouraged by the reduction in the numbers of positive cases and quarantines at W.M. Irvin Elementary, and we wish everyone who is not feeling well a speedy recovery,” said acting Superintendent Brian Schultz in a statement. “We appreciate our Facilities Department working to clean and sanitize the school and the buses and are grateful for the health professionals at Cabarrus Health Alliance who continue to provide us with sound guidance.