Local school system officials are providing updates on how students are faring during the pandemic

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Students are now back in school, but some parents are wondering how safe their children really are with the pandemic still being a threat.

Schools in the Pitt County School system are continuing to follow the toolkit of guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Now, even with their continued efforts, schools still saw major spikes in cases towards the beginning of the year, which officials say are now fading out.

“At the beginning of the year with the Delta Variant absolutely we did see an increase in cases, more cases than we had last year,” said Jennifer Johnson, Pitt County School’s Public Information Officer. “We understand that parents are very concerned about their children and we share that concern at Pitt County Schools.”

Jennifer Johnson with Pitt County Schools says although spikes were seen towards the school years beginning due to the Delta variant. They are now expecting some of their lowest reported numbers. All of this coming as they continue to work closely with health officials she says.

“We are working with our partners, we are making all of our decisions based on their data and our public feedback and are really working to keep our kids as safe as possible. We absolutely are keeping children’s safety at the very top of our priority list, we began the year with that.”

Jennifer Johnson

In addition, Johnson says it is important they listen to parents and address their frustrations.

“We’re all looking at the protocols, we are all listening to partners whether they’re either frustrated about masking or they’re frustrated with quarantines and students having to be out of school.”

Even looking to implement a third-party testing service that students and Pitt County School employees can opt-in for.

“One reason we are looking at testing with Mako is because we want parents to have more options to keep their students back in school. We don’t want to quarantine unnecessarily.”

Saying it all comes down to patience on both ends.

“Continue to have patience with our schools and know that we are your children’s advocates as well,” said Johnson. “This is another different year that we’ve never seen before in a pandemic.”

Johnson mentions some of the clusters they saw at the beginning of the year came mostly from those participating in athletics due to the close proximity they are usually in. She says parents should reach out to school nurses or the health department with any concerns, as she notes they want to be able to address them in a timely manner.

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