At least three of Fulton County’s seven school districts are reporting COVID cases almost one month into the new school year, but the superintendents say they stand by the districts’ joint agreement to hold in-school classes.
Chris Lake, superintendent of Swanton Local Schools, estimates that about 10% of the district’s 1,150 students have been wearing masks each day to class. Two cases of COVID have been reported, one discovered prior to the opening of school and the other the first day of classes. Lake said two other students are being quarantined, but neither is related to the positive cases.
Swanton is among the seven school districts that have jointly adopted The Fulton County Schools’ Common Opening Agreement (FCSCOA). It calls for a strong advisory for students to wear masks, social distancing, and regular sanitation of school areas, among other regulations.
“I have not received any complaints about the opening of the school year or the plan we are following. So far the plan crafted in the county schools agreement is working just fine,” Lake said.
Swanton is not offering students the choice of an online academy this school year.
“Thus far, I am very pleased with the way our school year has started,” Lake said. “The experience of being open last year has given us all a good foundation upon which to build the plan for this school year. We continue to work closely with the Fulton County Health Department to track COVID cases and quarantines within the district. We remain committed to keeping the school buildings open for our students and their families.”
About 8% of Fayette Local Schools’ 438 students are currently wearing masks, according to Superintendent Angie Belcher. One student has tested positive for COVID, and eight are in quarantine.
Belcher said she hasn’t received complaints from parents about masking, saying, “I think parents are pleased when they have the choice.”
She said the FCSCOA has worked well for the school buildings, enough so that only 18 students are attending virtual classes online, a decrease from last school year.
“The (FCSCOA) was well thought out and we have continued to work with the Fulton County Health Department, and will continue to do so as the year progresses,” Belcher said.
Since Labor Day weekend, an increasing number of the 483 students in Pettisville Local Schools have begun wearing masks daily, Superintendent Josh Clark said. Two positive COVID cases have been reported, and four students are under quarantine after the county health department notified the school district.
Clark said a district administrative team has been meeting weekly to to discuss the updates provided by the health department.
“I believe that as we head into the fall, it is imperative that we stay vigilant and adhere to the recommendations set forth in the Fulton County Schools’ Common Opening Agreement plan,” Clark said.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.