WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Officials with New Hanover County Schools announced on Tuesday that Lake Forest Academy will be closed and move to remote-only learning for two weeks due to the identification of three COVID-19 positive cases among staff.
“In addition, 13 staff and 13 students are being quarantined due to close contact. Out of an abundance of caution, all Lake Forest Academy staff and students will transition to remote-only instruction for two weeks, effective immediately,” a news release from the district stated.
Lake Forest is expected to reopen for face-to-face learning on Monday, Dec. 14.
The move comes as New Hanover County and the rest of Southeastern North Carolina have seen a precipitous rise in COVID-19 cases.
However, NHCS spokesperson Ann Gibson said the district is not re-examining it’s position in “Plan B” at this point.
“We’re not anticipating any changes right now. We’re staying in Plan B, and continuing with the AA BB schedule. The district is committed to keeping students in school, and just continuing to follow the health department guidance,” she said Tuesday.
NHCS is urging families to adhere to the “3 W’s,” especially over the holiday weekend, Gibson said.
“The district is re-emphasizing, reiterating the CDC guidance surrounding the holidays, celebrating the holidays, and the New Hanover County health guidance, and just encouraging people to celebrate outdoors, socially distance, celebrate in small groups in their own household, all of those same precautions.”
Schools are also preparing for the temporary return of some students who have been learning remotely, as end of semester state testing is set to begin in the next few weeks.
Gibson said the district will have health screenings in place, including temperature checks, and will be spacing students out.
“We anticipate that on any given testing day, it will be about a quarter of the student population at the traditional high schools that will be there, so there will be ample room for social distancing,” she said.
Overall, the district is committed to keeping students in the classroom as much as possible.
Board member Judy Justice echoed that desire, noting she doesn’t speak for the board as a whole, but said she hopes the community will understand what happens outside the classroom walls makes the difference.
“Our schools are doing great, they’re trying so hard, but you can only do so much when people aren’t following the safety protocols in the community. And that’s really sad because we want our schools open.”
Fellow board member Nelson Beaulieu also said he thinks the district is doing the best it can, and they will continue evaluating the numbers and situations at individual schools on a case by case basis.