Craven County official explains situation after elementary school closed due to rising COVID-19 cases

School Watch

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT) — Craven County Schools has announced that one of its schools will temporarily close due to a number of COVID-19 cases there.

School officials said Wednesday that due to the number of staff members who have tested positive for COVID and the high number of student quarantines, Graham A. Barden Elementary will need to close the school immediately for face-to-face instruction until September 7. The school will shift to remote learning during this time. School officials said the switch to Zoom learning will begin no later than Friday as teachers adjust to the method of teaching.

The school district is following quarantine protocols under the NC StrongSchools Toolkit. The toolkit states any person in close contact with a COVID positive person must quarantine.

“Someone is considered a close contact when someone is within six feet of an individual for 15 minutes that is within a 24 hour time frame, so it’s cumulative,” said Jennifer Wagner, Craven County Schools Public Relations and Communication Director.

Wagner says moving forward wearing a mask the right way will help keep everyone in school.

“It is really critical that everyone wears masks appropriately and consistently,” Wagner said. “Making sure that the mask covers their nose and chin is really the difference we’re seeing in someone having to quarantine or stay in school.”

Officials said in the meantime, instructional materials will be available for independent learning through the learning management system, as well as additional items sent home today.

School officials also said if any staff and/or students begin experiencing any COVID-like symptoms during our school closure, please reach out to the school nurse, Luanne Mack via email or via phone at (252) 444-5100 for assistance.

School officials also said as of Wednesday, the total number of positive students and staff with COVID-19 in the district is 14. The number of quarantines is 764 students and staff.

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