MASON COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – It’s only been a few weeks since Ashton Elementary students returned to school and already there is a COVID-19 outbreak among its staff and students.
Like other schools within the Mason County Schools District, mask-wearing is optional.
“As of today, we had 17 positive cases and that’s a combination of students and staff members,” said Mason County Schools Superintendent Dr. Keith Burdette.
Mason County Schools currently has an online COVID-19 dashboard for parents and students to see how many cases there are in their 12 schools.
Despite this, some parents say the school board isn’t being transparent with them.
Burdette says the number 17 Thursday doesn’t include the 39 students who are quarantined and the others who called out sick out of fear or to get tested.
Despite the outbreak, the school still remains in session, prompting many parents to ask why the school hasn’t been shut down for the remainder of the week.
“I wish they would shut it down for the rest of the week! This is absolutely crazy! We were on virtual all last year with no COVID in the school, now that it’s all over the school we are still going,” wrote one mother.
“Yeah those numbers are highly inaccurate, we have more than that in teachers who are out,” wrote another mother.
Burdette says the entire county only has 32 active COVID-19 cases within its schools, 17 of which have been confirmed to be from Ashton Elementary.
He says they’re working closely with the Mason County Health Department and the state, and for now, their recommendation has been to stay open at the moment.
“I was at Ashton from the very first moment when the students were arriving and getting off the buses and getting off the cars and there was such enthusiasm as the kids came back to school and I saw that enthusiasm among the staff as well and so there are so many benefits to in-person learning that we want to try to provide that as best as possible and as well as we can during these very difficult times,” said Burdette.
Still, the superintendent says as they continue to monitor the situation daily anything could change.