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Local school temporarily switches to virtual learning

CHOCOWINITY — Beaufort County Schools’ decision to have Chocowinity Primary School temporarily switch to a virtual learning-only format was based on staffing concerns stemming from contact tracing and self-quarantining, Superintendent Matthew Cheeseman says.

There was only one known active case of COVID-19 at Chocowinity Primary when Cheeseman sent out a voicemail to the district’s families last Thursday, informing them that the school would be moving to an all-virtual format until Tuesday, Jan. 19. COVID-19 protocols had cut down the school’s amount of available staff members, creating what would have been alarming discrepancies in classroom coverage and other areas.

With the switch to virtual learning, Chocowinity Primary students enrolled in traditional classes will only miss a couple of in-person learning opportunities this week. Wednesdays are virtual learning days for all grade levels, and an optional teacher workday is scheduled for Friday, meaning students wouldn’t have been reporting to school anyway.

As of Tuesday afternoon, no other schools in the district were in a situation similar to Chocowinity Primary’s.  The district is handling COVID-19 issues on a school-by-school basis.

CATCHING UP

Beaufort County Schools keeps an updated log of its COVID-19 case counts in its website. Visitors to the site within the last couple of days might have been surprised by a significant jump in the district’s school-by-school case totals, which account for all cases reported since Oct. 12.

Cheeseman said that jump was caused by the entry of some backlogged data from the holiday season, rather than an outbreak.

“Our nurses do a really good job of entering information as they receive it and as they have time to do it,” Cheeseman said.

The district’s total case count was 154 as of Tuesday afternoon. That total includes the district’s 14 schools as well as the central services office.