As The Temperature Drops, COVID Cases Soar: How Does This Affect Schools Plans to Return


Graph Provided by The Forsyth County COVID Tracker

Mary Catherine Colo, Staff Writer

As the seasons change and temperature drops, COVID cases are on the rise. In the past two months, Forsyth County has seen a surge in cases. According to the Health Department’s covid tracker, there have been 2,197 new cases in Forsyth County over the past 14 days. This information was updated on Saturday, November 28th. With a positive test rate of 10.1% the number of cases is growing everyday. What does this mean for students’ planned return to school? 

The school board is continuing to monitor the case numbers and science in order to make the most appropriate decision. Board member, Leah Crowley, said that she is encouraged by the research of Dr. Kanecia Zimmerman with ABC Science Collaborative at Duke University. 

“Based on their research compiled from schools they are working with, schools can operate safely using the three Ws; wear a mask, wait 6 ft apart, wash hands, regardless of the community’s positive covid cases percentage,” Crowley said. She is optimistic schools will continue to reopen as scheduled. 

On Monday, November 9th, Kindergarten students were some of the first to return to the classroom. Ashley McNiell, a speech therapist who works at Whitaker Elementary says that bringing the kids back was very exciting.

“We were excited again, we have missed them,” McNiell said. 

She also said that while the teachers were excited, they also wanted to make sure they followed the rules. 

“We all feel we need to do it correctly,” McNiell said. 

Even with the extra precautions, Whitaker was forced to close due to a Covid outbreak among staff and students. The return of the other grade levels, starting with 1st graders who were scheduled to return on Monday November 16th have been postponed. The updated returning schedule has yet to be officially determined. Crowley offered a piece of advice to students and parents during this time.

“Hang in there!  This has been incredibly difficult; teaching remotely, learning remotely, and making decisions about going back. Everyone has been stressed with the uncertainties and fear this pandemic has caused.” Crowley said. 

To stay updated, parents and students should continue to look for information on the WSFCS website, and listen for important calls and text messages detailing the latest information.