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State: New COVID-19 clusters reported at four Guilford County schools

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GREENSBORO — State health officials have four more additions to the list of Guilford County schools with COVID-19 clusters.

Shining Light Academy, Western Guilford Middle School, Southwest Elementary and Dudley High School were added to the list released Tuesday from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shining Light had 11 cases of the coronavirus — 10 involving students and one staff member — according to the report. The school’s principal was out of town and could not be reached for comment, a person at the school said Wednesday morning.

Because of reporting and verification requirements, data in the state’s report often is outdated and cases may have since been cleared.

Western Guilford Middle had five coronavirus cases among students, according to the state’s report. However, the Guilford County Schools COVID-19 dashboard shows the school has experienced 15 infections among students this month, although cases on the dashboard may not be epidemiologically linked.

Southwest Elementary in High Point had cases involving four students and one staff member.

At Dudley High School, there were three coronavirus cases connected to students and two cases related to staff members.

Previously reported ongoing COVID-19 clusters include cases at Eastern Guilford and Northern high schools, and Peck and Triad Math and Science elementary schools.

As defined by the state, clusters are a minimum of five confirmed COVID-19 cases associated with a school or day care. Those cases are detected within a 14-day period with “plausible epidemiological linkage.” That means those who tested positive were together in the same area at the same time when exposure to the respiratory disease was likely.

A cluster is considered over if there is no evidence of continued transmission within the setting, which is tied to a 28-day time frame.

The state report is considered preliminary and may change as more information is available, according to state health officials.

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The school board on Tuesday also approved asking the commissioners for $10 million in capital outlay funds for next fiscal year to pay for HVAC upgrades, roof repairs and outdoor lighting among other things. The county gave the district $4 million in capital outlay funds for the current fiscal year.

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