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New CMS COVID-19 Clusters Include Two High School Basketball Teams And An Elementary School

North Meck High.jpg
Ann Doss Helms
North Mecklenburg High is the site of a new COVID-19 cluster identified by CMS.

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

Mecklenburg County health officials said Friday that COVID-19 has been spread at Lake Wylie Elementary School and among the men’s basketball teams at North Mecklenburg and Butler high schools.

All three schools are listed on Friday's report on COVID-19 clusters. The health department reports that each of those schools had five cases that appear to have spread through the schools. According to the county list, all five cases at the elementary school were staff. Students accounted for three of the cases at Butler and four at North Meck.

That brings the total to five clusters in CMS since the school year began, with previous clusters at Bradley Middle School and Metro School for students with disabilities.

Superintendent Earnest Winston said Friday afternoon that everyone involved had already started quarantining when they got positive test results.

K-12 students in CMS have been learning remotely since mid-December. Middle and high schools have not held in-person classes since March, but athletic practices and events were allowed until last week.

In CMS and across the state, hundreds of students and school employees have contracted COVID-19. Based on contact tracing by local health officials, the vast majority of them have been deemed not to have contracted the virus through school spread.

The CMS board recently delayed a return to in-person classes and canceled all group athletic events after Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris issued a directive urging schools to keep students at home through early February.

Winston said Friday that schools are ready to reopen as soon as the health department gives the signal. He said he hopes to resume in-person classes and athletics next month.

"This pause is exactly that. It’s a pause," he said. "And we welcome the opportunity to bring our student athletes back when we begin returning students to in-person learning."

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