ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — A vocal Alamance-Burlington Board of Education member shares her concerns after two Alamance County schools saw cases of COVID-19 during these first few days of school.
The Alamance-Burlington School System is conducting its 2020 academic year virtually for the first few weeks, however, teachers and staff are back inside of the classrooms.
Patsy Simpson, an Alamance-Burlington Board of Education member, spoke out through a Facebook post after she had learned of COVID-19 cases within two Alamance County Schools. She told FOX8 the cases came from Highland Elementary and Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary.
“We’ve actually had two confirmed cases at A.O. Elementary school and there is at least a confirmed case if not more at Highland, but we are taking the appropriate steps in our school system. We are following the appropriate protocols in terms of preparing for our staff to come back to school as well as the appropriate protocols for cleaning,” said Simpson.
Simpson was transparent about the cases and says she wanted to make sure the community she represents was informed. Several teachers and staff reached out to her about their frustrations over the district not having the flexibility over giving teachers and staff the opportunity to work from home. Simpson told FOX8 there is flexibility and the district will work with those teachers.
“I would ask anyone who’s having any problems with the request to work at home to speak directly to their principals or our superintendent. He has made it very clear that he wants all of our administrators to be very flexible in granting a request to work at home so if there are any issues I would suggest they reach out to their principal,” said Simpson.
A district educator was appalled over what they’re calling a lack of concern over this entire matter and lack of information regarding the COVID-19 cases.
“The staff that is concerned or has underlying issues, whether it be themselves or someone in their families or have no childcare, deserve to work from home until we are back full time in the classroom,” said an ABSS educator who wanted to remain anonymous.
A spokesperson from the school district did not confirm any positive COVID-19 cases but did inform us that the Alamance County Health Department had not recommended any closures.
As a precaution, staff members at Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary are working remotely for the remainder of the week while the building undergoes additional cleaning.
“I don’t believe that the superintendent nor the board intentionally tried to be deceptive in not sharing that information but one of the platforms is safety and keeping the community informed and once I became aware of this situation at A.O. I had a conversation with the superintendent who did, in fact, confirm that,” said Simpson.
During the interview, Simpson reiterated that her decision to speak out was solely made on her own and doesn’t represent the entire school board or district.
Highland Elementary is open as usual, and leaders are following all protocols recommended by the health department related to anyone who feels they may have been in close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.