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August 17, 2021

244 county school students quarantined as of Tuesday

Click above to watch Superintendent David Jeck’s update posted Aug. 17.
[W]e have more positives today that have been reported, and after contact tracing, that will result in more quarantines. And, that’s truly a shame.
Fauquier public schools have 244 students in quarantine because of potential exposure to COVID-19, the superintendent announced in a video posted Tuesday night.

Five days into the fall term, which started Aug. 11, that represents 2.2 percent of the 11,000 students enrolled.

Transcript of video:

Hi, Dave Jeck here, superintendent of Fauquier County Public Schools, with another video update. Today I’m going to be talking a little bit about recent positive COVID cases within the school division and corresponding quarantining that has come as a result. And also want to talk a little bit about vaccinations and mask wearing.

Just as a reminder, I think we all share the same goal: to keep our kids safe and in schools. That should be our top priority - it is our top priority. I would ask that as we go through this information, that we put politics aside. I know that this is a hot-button issue relative to politics and political leanings. And frankly, I don’t care about those, I’m not interested in them.

What I’m interested in is keeping our kids in school, and keeping them safe. And so whatever I can do, or we can do as a school division to make that happen, that’s what we ought to do. No matter your opinions about vaccinations, or masks or anything else.

So I want to share some stats with you. The first set of statistics is actually good. We received this from VDH (Virginia Department of Health) this morning. The northern region has the lowest number of positive cases per 100,000 of any region in this state. That’s good news. We also, not coincidentally, have the highest number of students (12 and up) who are vaccinated. Our region has the highest number. And again, that’s not coincidental. That’s very good news.

However, at this point, we have 244 students who are quarantined. And that’s as a result of 13 positive cases among students as of August 17. Now, more have trickled in today; we have more positives today that have been reported, and after contact tracing, that will result in more quarantines. And, that’s truly a shame.


Wearing masks

Because if our goal, again, is to keep kids safe and in schools, we have to do whatever we need to do to make that happen. So I’m asking for your help. And here it goes. First, whenever possible, please have your child wear a mask, please.

Right now we have 15.3 percent of our students whose parents have opted them out of wearing a mask. And we all recognize and understand there are legitimate exemptions to mask wearing as provided within the state health commissioner’s order. We all get that. But, what we’re asking and what I’m asking specifically, is for you, as a family, to perhaps reconsider opting your child out of mask wearing.

Why? Well, it goes back to our priorities. Masks offer another layer of protection against the virus. That’s the keeping kids safe part. And also, masks help reduce the number of students who have to quarantine. And so as a result, they’re staying in school. So I can’t emphasize that enough. It’s not only about keeping kids safe, it’s also about making sure that they’re in the buildings, which is what we all want.

I also need to mention that the federal transportation mandate, especially in regards to masks on school buses, does not allow for the same exemptions as the public health order. It’s a different animal, and we’re going to be providing more details regarding that in the days to come. It’s a much more difficult threshold than school buildings. The federal mandate on buses is much stricter. And we’ll be providing more information about that. But the bottom line is if kids are riding buses, they need to be wearing their masks.


Vaccinations

So the data we’re seeing shows clearly vaccinations work. And it gets right back to what I’ve said several times now: Vaccinated students are much less likely to test positive. Now again, we’re talking about the students who are eligible for vaccinations (many are not), but we have information about that as well. The VDH is hopeful that those vaccinations will be available to students under 12 sooner rather than later. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed there.

And the vaccinations help reduce the number of students who have to be quarantined. To give you an example of this and in real time, one of our schools today was facing over 60 quarantines as a result of contact tracing until it was revealed that many of these students had been vaccinated. That reduced the number of quarantined students in half.

So that makes a difference in terms of keeping the kids in school. If they’ve been vaccinated and they’re in contact with a student who tests positive, they’re much, much less likely to have to be quarantined.


Vaccination clinics

I wanted to also mention that HR (the human resources department) has contacted the folks at the regional health district (Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District) to offer a couple of additional pop-up vaccination centers in Fauquier. The locations are at 330 Hospital Drive, which is the health department over here, and at Germanna Community College (in Culpeper).

Walk-ins are welcome, or you can call in to make an appointment at 540-347-6400. And the shots are the first and third Fridays from 8:30 to 1:30. I just reiterate that we’re going to be requesting these pop-up vaccination places to make it more convenient for parents and staff members, etc.

Lastly, we’re getting lots of questions, especially about quarantining. We are developing a flowchart that includes, “If this happens, then this happens.” This is information that we already have and we’re going to quantify it into an-easy-to-follow diagram or flowchart and we’ll include answers to some of the most often asked questions.

So that’s it for now. Stay tuned for more information to come out this week regarding transportation, and hopefully those pop-ups will be available very soon for vaccines.

But we need your help. We need to keep these kids in school and need to keep the kids safe and healthy. And whatever you can do to help along those lines is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Have a great evening.


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