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Gaston County schools employee tests positive for COVID-19

Due to confidentiality requirements, the district is not identifying the school where the employee works, the employee’s name, or employee’s job title.

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — A Gaston County Schools employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson for the district.

Todd Hagans, Chief Communication Officer for Gaston County Schools, said Wednesday that a school employee has been quarantined and is not being allowed to come to school at this time following the positive test result.

Hagans said the district has notified anyone who may have been in contact with the employee and asked them to quarantine and get tested. The area where the employee works has been cleaned and disinfected.

The district has also been in contact with the local health department for guidance related to contact tracing and notifications.

Due to confidentiality requirements, Hagan said the district is not identifying the school where the employee works, the employee’s name, or employee’s job title.

Any employee who is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 or has been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 is being advised to quarantine and get tested.

Teachers returned to school on Monday, and students will be back in class starting Aug. 17 under North Carolina’s “Plan B,” which is a mix of in-person and remote learning.

Pam Miller, a first-grade teacher in Belmont and president of the Gaston County chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators, said the news of the positive COVID-19 case is concerning.

"We've only been back since Monday,” Miller said. “We don't have kids yet, and so to hear that someone has tested positive and has been around other employees is a very scary thing to think about."

Miller said she hopes this case will cause the Gaston County Board of Education to see the need to move to Plan C to start the school year.

"I really predict that if we do start back on Plan B that we will not be doing in-person instruction for very long before we're going to have to go to Plan C,” Miller added.

Even though schools have been preparing social distancing, mask and cleaning procedures, Miller said it may be difficult to implement and enforce the policies when students are all back in the classroom.  

"We're people,” Miller said. “We're not guinea pigs."