The numbers of students and staff quarantined in Rappahannock County Public Schools surged last week after just a few student cases of the virus resulted in more than two dozen new close contacts who were required to stay home.
Last Wednesday, 67 total students and staff were quarantined — up from fewer than 40 active quarantines on Sept. 17, while just eight cases of the virus remained active in the school system. The vast majority of those quarantined are at the Rappahannock County Elementary School.
In one isolated incident, a student who was ill rode multiple crowded school busses where they were in very close contact with others, according to Superintendent Dr. Shannon Grimsley, resulting in a minor surge of close contacts. Security footage showed that the student was masked in accordance with federal law that requires facial coverings on public transit, Grimsely said.
In another instance, multiple siblings within a family across several grade levels were unwittingly sent to school with the virus and mild symptoms, creating many close contacts. Once the parents discovered their kids had tested positive, they informed the schools immediately, Grimsley said.
“We need parents’ help, that when their children are sick or showing symptoms, that they should contact our school nurse to get further direction about quarantine protocols and sick protocols. And that helps us respond a lot more quickly,” she said.
The large number of active quarantines is expected to subside in the coming days since many of those already accounted for prior to the recent exposures will be released, Grimsley said. As of Wednesday, 52 total students and staff have tested positive for the virus since school began.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this report incorrectly stated that the number of quarantines were at a year-high. Quarantine number in the past have exceeded where they were on Wednesday.