Ninety-two in quarantine or positive for COVID-19 in Upshur County Schools; Meal pickup will be curbside

BUCKHANNON – More than 90 people associated with Upshur County Schools – including students, staff and administrators – have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are quarantining due to possible exposure to the virus.

As of late Tuesday afternoon, the number of individuals who either returned a positive result for a COVID-19 test or are quarantining had risen from 73 on Monday to 92, according to information provided by Dr. Jeffery Harvey, schools safety and emergency preparedness director. Currently, there are 20 positive COVID-19 cases within Upshur County Schools, with six at Buckhannon-Upshur High School, 10 in the Transportation Department, one at Fred Eberle Technical Center, one at Tennerton Elementary School and two within the administration.

Seventy-two people are currently quarantining, with 20 of those at B-UHS and 28 within the Transportation Department.

In fact, Upshur County Schools’ weekly meal delivery will be a curbside pickup operation this week due to the breadth of the outbreak, Upshur County Schools Wellness and Nutrition Director Eddie Vincent said Tuesday.

Parents and guardians may pick up their students’ five-day boxes containing 10 meals at any Upshur County school between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Due to a COVID-19 outbreak among bus drivers and other Transportation Department employees, meals will not be delivered as they normally are, and if guardians/parents aren’t able to pick up meal boxes during the two-hour designated time frame, they may stop by the Upshur County Schools’ warehouse building in Tennerton anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday.

“Everything will be curbside,” Vincent said Tuesday afternoon. “Each school will be delivered boxes, and [parents/guardians] won’t even have to get out of their vehicles.”

Vincent confirmed schools aren’t offering their supper program due to a shortage of staff and school service personnel.

“We can’t do that because most of our cooks are out right now,” Vincent said. “A lot of people who help on our buses with our food delivery program every week are cooks and aides, and we’ve not worked them for a couple days to ensure they have no symptoms. Right now, we don’t have enough staff to do the supper program across every school.”

However, if some schools are able to still offer a hot supper to students, they may do so, Vincent added.

Vincent said anyone concerned about contact with a staff member during the Oct. 21 food delivery will be contacted by the Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department if quarantining is necessary and that school system personnel are aware of the steps they need to take to keep themselves, students and other staff and administrators healthy.

“Our people wear masks and do what they are instructed to do,” Vincent said. “We follow the guidance of the health department. We’re doing the best we can to keep everyone safe. We’re putting out 3,000 boxes of food a week, and that’s not counting the supper program. We’re working very hard at ensuring our kids are being fed.”

The Homecoming Coronation at Buckhannon-Upshur High School on Wednesday will proceed, the school system announced on Facebook. The 1 p.m. event will be livestreamed.

Schools are closed in Upshur County this week because of a lack of transportation personnel. They were closed the previous three weeks due to high levels of community spread in Upshur County.

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