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Savannah-Chatham Schools seeing a decline in COVID cases

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Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 6:07 AM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System is wrapping up its ninth week of learning for the school year, and it’s been a roller coaster so far.

A few schools were forced to go all-virtual over the last couple of months due to high transmission rates. So far this year, Beach High School is the only high school in the district that switched to virtual learning for a few days.

The latest numbers show 0.24 percent of students tested positive for COVID, which is down from 1 percent of students one month ago. Teachers testing positive was at 0.16 percent compared to 1.29 percent one month ago.

Quarantines of students was cut in half over the last month. The most recent data shows 3.31 percent of students were quarantined compared to 6.83 percent the first week of September. The school district attributes the decline to everyone following the rules and proper protocol now that they are familiar with the system.

“The elementary schools, by the nature of the way elementary schools are run, it’s a little easier to close contact a student as they go through their day. When you get into middle and high school it can be a little bit more challenging because students are moving around a lot on their own. But I’ll tell you one thing that was real beneficial for us and that’s seating charts,” said Kurt Hetager, SCCPSS Chief Public Affairs and Administrative Services Officer.

Less than two months ago, Savannah-Chatham Schools had 352 COVID cases among students in just one week, plus another 44 among staff members. At that time, more than 4,200 students and staffers were in quarantine.

Last week, only 88 students and nine staffers tested positive, with slightly more than 1,200 in quarantine. This data includes charter schools as well.

By having students sit in the same cohorts, there are less quarantines due to exposure and it limits the potential for spread after a positive case is identified.

The district says transmission is still a concern, especially as we are approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks. They saw numbers rise last year during that period and they are bracing for that this year as well.

As far as virtual learning, some parents still wanted that as an option but the E-Learning Academy is full. They are asking parents to work directly with the principal at their child’s school to figure out a virtual option for the students that are currently on that waiting list to get into the E-Learning Academy.

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