Polk County Schools close down due to increase in COVID spread, staff shortage

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POLK COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – On Friday, many Polk County Schools students were at home instead of at school and in the classroom.

According to school officials, this is due to the impact of COVID-19 cases and staff shortages. Three schools — which include Polk Central Elementary, Polk County Middle School and Polk County High School— will be closed for students on Friday, Sept. 3 and Tuesday, Sept. 7.

District officials said the closures will help those schools recover from staffing deficits, mitigate the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases, allow completion of existing investigations and get students back on campus from current quarantines.

There will be no assignments or instructional expectations for students for the two days but teachers and staff at all three schools will operate on a workday schedule on both days.

Hope Ross-Keenan, a parent to a Polk Middle School student, said parents received letters from the district about increasing COVID-19 cases, mask recommendations to help slow the spread and a warning to parents that the schools may be forced to close.

Ross-Keenan said hundreds of parents sent letters to the school board asking members to review the mask recommendation. She said she’s in full support of the superintendent’s decision but said last minute school closures force parents to scramble to search for other options.

“My first reaction was 100% anger” she said, “My only concern is why the school board hasn’t called an emergency meeting yet. This being a low income area it puts a lot of parents in an awkward situation having to take time off of work because their children cant go to school,”

The superintendent Aaron Green said parents were warned about potential closures.

“We realize this is inconvenient for students and families, and we apologize for the short notice,” said Superintendent Aaron Greene. ” As we have stated throughout the pandemic, temporary closures of school sites may occur.”

Students are expected to return to class at those three schools on Wednesday, Sept. 8. All other schools in the district will remain on a regular schedule.

Families may pick up free lunches for students ages 18 and under at Polk Central Elementary on Sept. 3 and Sept. 7 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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