At last Tuesday's Roanoke City School Board meeting, Superintendent Chuck Marcum gave an update on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting the city schools.

Marcum told the board, "We have had some issues with COVID-19 that I want to bring to your attention. Please know that due to HIPPA law that I am not allowed to divulge any names of staff members or students."

Marcum went on to say, "Last weekend we had a staff member from Handley Middle School test positive for the virus. This staff member will now quarantine for 10 days, with one day of recovery without fever or fever-reducing medications required before they can return to work. We have determined that a staff member at Handley High School has been exposed to the positive HMS case. This staff member has had a COVID- 19 test yesterday that was negative. The staff member must quarantine for 14 days. Out of an abundance of caution, we have quarantined another HHS staff member who was in close contact with the staff member mentioned."

He continued, "On a separate COVID issue, we did send an HMS student home who had symptoms of the virus. We also sent two other students home who were considered to have been exposed or 'close contacts' to the symptomatic student. We are waiting results of the test of the symptomatic student."

One important factor to remember is the 6/15 rule Marcum said. "Please remember that 'close contact' or exposure is defined as those students/staff that have been within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes (6/15 rule). Using that definition, we believe that four students have been exposed (one at Knight-Enloe Elementary School, two at HMS and one at HHS)."

According to the superintendent, the Alabama Department of Public Health will conduct contact tracing to make sure all students and staff who were exposed are quarantined. "Please note that our procedures include a deep clean of each classroom that has a symptomatic student and/or staff member," Marcum added. "We all knew we would have cases, and we will continue to have cases throughout the year. We are going to work hard to prevent an outbreak. That is our goal."

Marcum closed by telling the board that Handley High School had a virtual day due to the city elections taking place in the HHS Gymnasium last week, and this had nothing to do with COVID-19.

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