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300+ Stafford County students quarantining, 78 positive COVID cases

According to Stafford County Public School's COVID dashboard, only 8 of the students tested positive after school exposure.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Editor's Note: SCPS updates its online dashboard weekly on Wednesdays with the previous week's numbers. The story below reflects data from 8/16-8/22. 

After only two weeks of in-person learning, more than 300 Stafford County students have been sent home to quarantine following a COVID-19 exposure.

Of the 28,232 students enrolled in more than 30 Stafford County Public Schools (as of August 2020), 78 have tested positive and 324 are in quarantine. The quarantine number is a slight decrease from the previous week, when 377 students were quarantined. However, the number of positive cases increased from 76, and the number of students who tested positive after exposure at school increased from three to eight in the course of a week. 

So far, staff exposure has remained relatively low across SCPS, with four currently in quarantine, and four positive cases reported; only one staff case resulted from school exposure. The numbers had all decreased from the previous week, when eight staff tested positive and 14 quarantined. 

SCPS Superintendent Scott Kizner sent a letter to parents last week updating them on the district's mitigation plans.

"Stafford County’s coronavirus numbers continue to rise, and we must be cognizant of the fact that we may be required to shift from our current instructional model to a virtual model in the future either as a classroom, a school, or a division," Kizner said in the letter. "While collaboration with our local health department would be required before any decision to change our instructional delivery model is made, it is necessary for us to be proactive and plan for a pivot to virtual learning. Understanding this is not ideal, we must be ready as a learning community to make this switch if it is in the best interest of keeping our students safe and continuing their education."

RELATED: Are school districts in danger of going back to virtual learning?

Rappahannock County Public Schools (RCPS) made the decision to temporarily revert to distance learning after an uptick in reported flu and COVID-19 cases, despite guidance from VDH to stay open. 

"After consulting with VDH, their advice is not to close the schools right as they feel our current protocols have been more than appropriate," RCPS said in a letter sent home to parents. "However, with the high number of flu cases as well as additional COVID cases being reported this week, we feel it is imperative to provide time for the current quarantine/exposure cycle to end (August 30), allow time for our children and staff who are sick to stay home and recover, as well as provide time to revamp current mitigation strategies so that we can provide a better structure for consistency of in-person learning for all involved."

Several other school districts in Northern Virginia are also reporting hundreds of quarantined students and staff. In Fauquier County, one of the last Northern Virginia school districts to adopt an indoor mask mandate, 370 students were in quarantine and more than 80 cases had been reported as of 8/19. 

Fairfax County is only reporting positive cases, not quarantine numbers, but so far they have more than 100 student cases and 63 staff cases in August; school started for FCPS on Aug. 23. 

Prince William County Schools has had 112 total staff and student cases in the month of August, which includes both in-person and virtual learners, according to the school district in a statement. That number is the PWCS'  highest since May 2021, when the district ended its 2020-21 school year.

Loudoun County Public School's dashboard is listed as "currently unavailable."

RELATED: Prince Williams County Schools release COVID positive numbers for the month of August

RELATED: Rappahannock County schools move back to virtual learning due to rise in COVID-19 cases

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