LOGAN — A lengthy discussion about COVID-19 protocols ensued at the Logan County Board of Education’s regular session Tuesday, Nov. 10 after a parent addressed board members about her concerns.
Robin Wolfe, a Chapmanville area parent, became heated as she discussed a reported outbreak of the virus among the cooks at Chapmanville Middle School where her fifth-grade son attends. She said one cook had tested positive the prior Friday, Nov. 6, but the other cooks were made to work anyway instead of being sent home.
“They dispersed food to the classrooms,” Wolfe said. “They’re the ones that deliver the morning to-go bags to all students in every classroom, and they were not allowed to go home. They weren’t sent home until after lunch was served. I understand this is a virus and everybody panics, I get that, but those are my babies at that school, along with their friends, and those teachers are my friends. We’re exposing a whole group, a whole school full of people, to this awful virus, when it should have been shut down.
“I just want the board to take into consideration that you’ve exposed every in-person child in that school,” she added.
Wolfe said she spoke with Logan County Health Department Director Steve Browning, who she said told her that the virus was contained.
“How do you contain a virus?” she asked. “Those teachers have been all over that school already before they had tested, so no, I’m sorry, it wasn’t contained. ... What is the thought process of this board in not shutting school? I mean, five people, that’s an outbreak — by state health department standards, CDC guidelines — that’s an outbreak. Why are we not shut down for two weeks for quarantine until we see how many have been exposed?”
Wolfe called for more transparency, saying that the cook who had tested Friday, Nov. 6, was not posted by the Logan County Schools COVID-19 notification system until Monday. She said she thinks the county needs to rethink its handling of the virus, pleading with board members to consider the county’s older population — both teachers and in the community itself.
Superintendent Patricia Lucas said county officials, board members and the county’s webpage are all notified as soon as she is notified of a positive case by the school nurse. Assistant Superintendent Darlene Dingess-Adkins said they were not made aware of any positive case on Friday, Nov. 6.
“The nurses go through a process of contact tracing with the health department and then they notify us if there are people that need to be quarantined,” Lucas said. “We have guidelines. We have to go by those and at this point, we have not met that threshold. ... We also communicate with the health department and we always take advice from them.”
Lucas said Chapmanville Middle had two substitute cooks working that week and no other staff had been asked to quarantine. Meals were also prepared at the other schools in the Chapmanville area and transported over to CMS.
Later in the meeting, Kristi Scaggs, the lead nurse for Logan County Schools, called in and explained that around noon Monday, Nov. 9, is when she was notified of the first positive case involving a cook at CMS. She said the second positive case was reported at around 1:30 p.m. that same day, and the school’s nurse immediately sent the rest of the cooks home and contact tracing was initiated.
One week later, schools in Logan County are operating on a remote learning basis due to the county’s orange rating on the most recent Saturday update of the West Virginia Department of Education color map. Just one week prior, Logan County was green on the map.
Positive cases of COVID-19 in Logan County have increased sharply over the past two weeks, hitting the 100 mark on Friday, which was the first time the active county was that high since September.
As of Tuesday, Logan County has 104 active cases, with 10 of them hospitalized. There have been 957 cases recorded cumulatively, with 807 recoveries and 46 deaths.
Statewide, West Virginia has 10,707 current active cases as of Tuesday, with 864 of those recorded just over the previous day. The state has had a cumulative total of 35,324 cases recorded, with 598 deaths.