NORWOOD — The Stanly County School System announced Sunday, Oct. 4, that a third grade teacher at Norwood Elementary School had died after testing positive for COVID-19. The teacher, Julie Davis, was a well-loved part of the school community and messages of condolences to her family and co-workers have been pouring in since the announcement.
“During her two years in service to the students of Norwood Elementary School, Mrs. Davis earned a well-deserved reputation as an inspirational teacher who was always seeking ways to support every student so that they were able to fulfill their potential,” acting superintendent of Stanly County Schools Vicki Calvert said in a statement. “Students absolutely loved being taught by Mrs. Davis. Her personality was infectious and she brought joy into the lives of the students, staff, and community.”
The release concluded, saying, “We are extending our deepest condolences to Mrs. Davis’ family. We were truly blessed by her professionalism and caring spirit.”
In the days before her passing, Stanly County Schools made an announcement to third grade parents that there was a teacher who had been infected with COVID-19 and that all students in the grade level were exposed. They called for a quarantine of third grade students and moved all learning to remote.
“In consultation with the Stanly County Health Department, it has been determined that due to close contact with a staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, we will need to quarantine all 3rd-grade students at Norwood Elementary School who were present at school on Wednesday and Thursday of last week,” read a Stanly Schools statement on Sept. 29. “This period of quarantine begins immediately. Those classes effected will transition to remote learning from September 30 through October 9.”
As this at-home learning period was announced, parents were directed to pick up remote learning packets at the front entrance of the school the following day. School lunches are still available for quarantined students and can be picked up in a “car rider line” on school days from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“Stanly County Schools share your frustrations that our students and staff cannot be physically present on our campus,” the statement said. “However, the safety and well-being of all our students and staff must remain our highest priority.”
The Stanly Health Department director, G. David Jenkins, also released a statement on the required quarantine, saying, “Due to an exposure to a staff member with positive COVID-19 test results, all third grade students at Norwood Elementary School MUST quarantine for 14 days (September 25-October 9). All of the students in the third grade are DIRECT CONTACTS to a positive case.”
The health department statement said these students “are NOT allowed to attend after school/remote learning programs, daycare centers, athletic practices/games etc.”
Based on direction from the North Carolina Health and Human Services Department, Jenkins also recommended that all students should be tested six days after their last contact with the individual. Even if the test comes back negative, they should not break the 14-day quarantine.
Jenkins also directed parents to carefully monitor their children during this time, monitoring them for potential COVID-19 symptoms, like cough, loss of taste and smell, fatigue, shortness of breath and fever.