Sumter School District virus cases in week 6 down slightly, but quarantines increase


After significant declines in recent weeks in new virus cases and quarantines in Sumter School District, week 6 totals were mixed with a few less positive cases but a 191-student increase in quarantines.

After recording 81 new positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff and directing 718 students to quarantine in week 5, the district had 77 virus cases and quarantined 909 students last week, according to data released Wednesday.

The week 6 totals represented a 5% decrease in new virus cases but a 27% rise in quarantines from the prior week. Overall, totals are still much lower from the initial three weeks of school before Labor Day when the district averaged 184 new COVID-19 cases and 2,200 students sent to quarantine weekly. The 909 student-quarantine total was the second-lowest week thus far for the school year and represents about 5% to 6% of district enrollment.

Of the 77 virus cases last week, 72 were students and five were staff, according to the data.

District administration has said mask wearing, desk shield usage, appropriate hand washing and respiratory etiquette are likely contributing factors in the lower numbers.

Students determined to be less than 3 feet from an infected student for a total of 15 minutes or more during a 24-hour period are classified as "close contacts," even if wearing a mask, and are directed to quarantine - unless they have been fully vaccinated. Children under the age of 12 are still not eligible to be vaccinated in the U.S., but that may change in late October with approval of a Pfizer vaccine for kids 5 to 11 years old.

While in quarantine, students receive online instruction.

The 909 students quarantined in the seven days of Sept. 18-24, representing week 6, have return dates that may have ranged from Tuesday until early next week if they don't develop any COVID-19 symptoms.