COVID keeping Mineral County Schools 'hopping'

Liz Beavers
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
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KEYSER - The Mineral County School System has been “hopping” with COVID exposures and positive cases, according to school safety coordinator John Wilson.

As of Wednesday, 54 students and 11 employees had been confirmed as positive for COVID-19 over the past week. In addition, 231 students and nine employees are currently on active quarantine due to exposures.

Two outbreaks have been declared - one among the Keyser Primary School staff and one in a Frankfort Intermediate School classroom.

Those numbers represent a doubling from last week’s report, which included 23 positive students  and 11 positive employees, along with 114 students and five employees on quarantine.

Wilson, who reported on the ongoing situation to the Mineral County Board of Education Wednesday, said “a lot of those quarantined are from sports and family transmissions.”

While the board of education implemented a mask mandate for anyone in the school buildings or riding on buses, masks are not required outside or during sports.

Some students, however, have opted to wear their masks in those venues as well.

“The Keyser High School volleyball team is practicing in masks; they asked if they could,” Wilson said.

The volleyball team is just one of the athletic teams that has fallen prey to COVID issues since sports teams began their practices, per WVSSAC rules, on Aug. 1. The virus forced postponement of their season until this past Wednesday.

Also hard hit, Keyser’s football team has had one scrimmage and two games cancelled - their season opener, which was due to COVID issues on Keyser’s side, and tonight’s matchup against Oak Glen, due to issues on their opponent’s side.

         Keyser soccer and Frankfort’s JV football, as well as the FHS girls soccer team have all also faced quarantining issues.

The virus has had its effect on the classroom as well. One parent told the News Tribune that her daughter, a student at Keyser Middle, had just gotten off quarantine, was back in school for a day and quarantined again.

“If we weren’t masking, we’d be shut down now,” Wilson said.

The school system is not requiring fully vaccinated persons to quarantine, although Wilson admitted that the county school system “has had our share of breakthrough cases.”

Breakthrough cases are defined as those vaccinated persons who still contract the latest COVID variant.

As for family transmissions of the virus, Wilson said students can be quarantined if the virus has touched their family.

“If we have any reason to believe any member of the family is positive, we’ll quarantine the child,” he said.

In Mineral County in general, positive COVID cases are currently at 378, according to the health department’s report on Wednesday.

Liz Beavers is a veteran writer and managing editor of the Mineral Daily News Tribune. You can check out her bio and more of her work at https://www.newstribune.info/staff/6477370002/liz-beavers/. To reach out to her with a story idea, email lbeavers@newstribune.info.