Positive COVID-19 cases found; school goes on

Macon County Public Health conducted a drive-thru COVID-19 testing at Macon Middle School last Thursday. As of Tuesday, Aug. 18, 497 cases have occurred in Macon County with 458 recovered, 35 active positive cases, four deaths and 131 pending. A Macon County Public Health employee has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee is isolating at home and doing well. Close contacts of the employee have been notified and tested. The necessary steps to disinfect the affected area have been performed. Since March, Macon County has implemented strong infection control standards in all county facilities to protect employees and citizens. Photo by Vickie Carpenter

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

The first day of school began on Monday, Aug. 17, and although unconventional due to COVID-19 restrictions,  Dr. Chris Baldwin, Macon County Schools Superintendent, said that there was a tremendous amount of cooperation from everyone.  

That is not to say there weren’t a few glitches. Parents were notified Wednesday afternoon that members of the Macon Middle School, Mountain View Intermediate School and South Macon Elementary School cafeteria teams have tested positive. These individuals have been in quarantine since the beginning of the week and have not been on campus to expose students. As a precaution, cafeteria teams have been sent home to quarantine according to contact tracing protocols. With the help of CareNet, bagged luches were served on Thursday. There was also some exposure at one school on Monday, due to a parent coming to school who had tested positive.  Dr. Baldwin urged parents to please stay home and call or email the school if they needed information.  The district is working with the health department to conduct contact tracing. Anyone found to have been exposed will have to self quarantine for 14 days.  Staff levels are adequate at this time.

Two students were found to have fevers, but had gone to the doctor and both brought doctor’s notes that stated they tested positive for strep throat. 

In other business

John Hamlin, State Farm Agent, has donated 1,700 stylus pens to Macon County Schools. Because every student in Macon County Schools will be using an iPad for remote learning, these pens will aid in the use of their iPads, especially in younger unfamiliar users.  The pens will be distributed to schools where teachers will give them out to students. 

Iotla Valley Elementary School had a leak in one of their AC units. Dr. Baldwin explained that this normally would not have been a problem, but due to the fact that the air needs to circulate in school because children and staff  are wearing masks,  this was made a priority and they will try to get it repaired by the end of the week. 

GreenPower solar project update

Macon County School Stem Coordinator Jennifer Love gave an update on the N.C. GreenPower Solar Panel Array Project.  At this time they have raised close to $1,000 out of the $6,000 needed to fully fund the project. The panel that will be installed at Mountain View Intermediate School, will generate  $800 per year in electrical savings for the next 40 years, for a total of approximately $32,000 in savings. Love says they have until the end of September to raise the remainder of the funds needed or they will forfeit the money already raised along with the project.  If the goal is not met N.C. GreenPower will use the money toward other projects. Several businesses expressed an interest is wanting to participate but the deadline is approaching. To make a donation by check, make payable to “NC GreenPower” and be sure to note MVI in the “memo” section of the check. Mail to NC GreenPower, Attn: Solar Schools, 909 Capability Drive, Suite 2100, Raleigh, NC 27607. Donations to NC GreenPower on behalf of the school are tax deductible. For questions regarding this project, contact Jennifer Love at (828)524-3314.