Forsyth County Schools responds to recent spike in COVID-19 cases

Taking+precautions.+In+the+above+photo%2C+Junior+Shree+Delwadia+is+putting+her+mask+on+in+between+a+schedule+change.+Students+at+South+Forsyth+High+School+are+highly+encouraged+to+wear+face+masks+to+reduce+the+spread+of+COVID-19+at+school.+Junior+Shivani+Murugapiran%2C+when+prompted+to+comment+on+the+importance+of+masks%2C+asked%2C+%22As+a+student+in+this+community%2C+is+it+not+important+to+put+our+peers+and+staff+in+a+safe+position%3F%22

Shreya Mishra

Taking precautions. In the above photo, Junior Shree Delwadia is putting her mask on in between a schedule change. Students at South Forsyth High School are highly encouraged to wear face masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at school. Junior Shivani Murugapiran, when prompted to comment on the importance of masks, asked, “As a student in this community, is it not important to put our peers and staff in a safe position?”

On October 23rd, the Forsyth County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden issued a letter to parents, guardians and school faculty regarding the recent spike of student COVID-19 cases in Forsyth County. On October 22nd, the Forsyth County Schools website reported 12 new cases of COVID-19 in the district among students and staff. Then, during the week of October 26th-30th, the website reported a total of 45 cases among all Forsyth County Schools.

Dr. Jeff Bearden addressed the COVID-19 spike and the voices of concerns of in his letter to FCS students, parents, and staff. He said:

“I am writing this letter for two reasons. One, I want to be completely transparent about the slight uptick in COVID-19 cases in our district. Two, I need your assistance in mitigating the spread. We need to continue to fight this pandemic together.”

He then pointed out the decline in the use of masks and social-distancing measures at school, whether it be students or staff.

“Masks are still an expectation for all students and staff unless a disability prevents an individual from wearing one. We are experiencing a decline in the number of students wearing a mask during the school day. Most show up at school with a mask, but wind up taking it off or wearing it around their neck. Most medical experts continue to impress upon all of us that wearing a mask helps to mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Dr. Bearden addressed the rampant complacency in Forsyth County Schools, and empowered students, parents, and staff to remain aware of the importance of taking safety precautions.

“I think we can all agree, we have had an excellent first quarter. Our students have been able to be actively engaged in the classroom and with activities. There is a semblance of normalcy. It’s human nature to become complacent when things appear to be going well. We cannot be complacent. We MUST remain vigilant. As adults, we must set an example. I implore your assistance. Please speak with your children, once again, about the importance of following ALL precautionary measures: Mask Up, Wash Up, Cover Up, Clean Up, and Back Up.”

This spike in numbers also elicited a response from concerned parents and students. Junior Shivani Murugapiran, in response to seeing the number of positive cases in Forsyth County, said, “In terms of the recent spike, I think a major problem is that we haven’t mandated masks, so several people, even asymptomatic ones, have increased the likelihood of spread. Not to mention, people are starting to lose their patience a bit more and are being less cautious.”

To continue face-to-face school amidst the pandemic, Forsyth County Schools has employed several initiatives to encourage safety precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing. The Step Up, Wash Up program empowers students to take control of their health, and remain aware of how their actions impact those around them. Additionally, Forsyth County Schools posts reminders on Twitter for students to wash their hands between classes, and wear masks indoors.

 

Both students and staff at South Forsyth High School continue to encourage mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. For more information, the county updates the Forsyth County Schools website each day with reported positive COVID-19 cases for each school in the district and any incoming news regarding school closures and new initiatives to combat the pandemic.