DCSD food-service workers quarantined after one employee tests positive for virus

By Bobby Bryant
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Six people who work in food services for the Darlington County School District were quarantined last week after one of them tested positive for COVID-19, district officials said.
The employees were working in the summer food program at Thornwell School for the Arts in Hartsville; they are the “team” for that location. The summer food program at Thornwell will be closed until the employees can return.
District officials emphasized that there appeared to be no risks to anyone outside the six who have been quarantined. “No employees or students outside the immediate team were exposed,” the school district said in a release.
The employee who tested positive “did not interact with students or parents,” the district said, “and there are no additional risks to families who picked up food from the schools.”
The cafeteria at Thornwell was “cleaned and disinfected,” the district said.
“I pray for the health of our sick employee as well as the health of those that were exposed,” county Education Superintendent Tim Newman said.
The Darlington County School District plans to reopen schools Sept. 8 assuming that COVID-19 conditions allow it, but all those plans could be rewritten fast if infection rates grow. “We may be in and out of school this whole school year,” Newman told the county school board during a July 13 session.
The state Education Department last week approved the county’s reopening plans for the fall. The county school district was one of 25 whose plans got the agency’s OK on July 30; the agency is reviewing school districts’ plans in batches.
At this point the DCSD will start school Sept. 8 with “face-to-face learning” five days a week, assuming that conditions allow it. The district also is offering students a Virtual Academy online-education system as an option. Newman said last week in a video chat with parents that 20 to 25 percent of students might opt for the Virtual Academy.

Author: Rachel Howell

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