Elementary school shut down, 22 employees quarantined in Cherokee Co.


CHEROKEE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – A Cherokee County elementary school is closed until after Thanksgiving, and is being deep-cleaned, after several employees tested positive for COVID and put roughly 30% of the school’s staff in quarantine.

“The cases are going up across the district, no doubt,” Superintendent of Cherokee County Schools Dr. Dana Fall said. “Especially with this time of travel and Halloween and all of that, we’re going to see surges. We see it across the country right now.”

The virus hit one of the district’s elementary schools pretty hard.

“Do we have enough people on staff? Do we have enough substitutes that can go in and cover if we have multiple out?”

Because the answer to those questions was “No,” Dr. Fall said, out of an abundance of caution, the district decided to close the school’s doors.

“Luther Vaughan just got to the point that we couldn’t operate. We had to shut it down,” Fall said.

21 employees and an administrator at Luther Vaughan Elementary School are now in quarantine, although only five have tested positive for COVID-19.

But Dr. Fall said more positive cases could pop up.

“We probably have 50 to 60 employees over there, counting custodians and everything,” he said.

Fall told 7 News the outbreak stemmed from a special area employee who floated between different classes.

“20 classrooms were impacted,” he said. “Teachers, teacher aides, we just couldn’t function.”

Dr. Fall said they only know of one student who has tested positive, but he said that there’s a good chance there are more.

“A lot of them don’t experience any symptoms. So, most parents don’t run off to the doctor and get them checked and tested and everything else when their child isn’t sick at all,” he said. “I’m sure there are kids around the school right now that are probably positive and don’t even know it.”

Luther Vaughan students will now be doing all virtual learning.

“The teachers are teleworking. They’re doing all of their lessons through the computer and things like that,” Fall said.

Dr. Fall told 7 News this could be the start of an even bigger closure.

“As we move forward, we’ll probably see some other schools that might fall in this category, unfortunately,” he said. “It’s the nature of the beast right now and we’ll deal with it as it comes.”

Because the two-week quarantine period goes into Thanksgiving break, Dr. Fall said students will only miss seven instructional days and will return to the classroom after the break.

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