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Five staff members and seven students at Stark Elementary School will be spending the next 14 days at home after a teacher tested positive for COVID-19.

Stark Principal Shannon Daniel sent a message to school families on Sept. 14 explaining the situation and how it is being handled:

"I am writing to inform you that a SES staff member received a positive test result for COVID-19 today. This individual was last on our campus Friday, Sept. 11. After receiving this information, we immediately notified the Department of Public Health and began the process of contact tracing to identify any close contacts. Anyone identified as a close contact, which is anyone who was within six feet for at least 15 minutes, has been notified and will remain at home for the next 14 days. Additionally, the instructional spaces impacted by this will undergo a deep and thorough cleaning and will remain closed for the next few days.

"Our staff has communicated directly with the individuals who were in direct contact with this individual. The purpose of this communication is to make you aware of this occurrence. If you did not receive a call from our staff regarding this issue, no further action is necessary.

"We will continue to make it our top priority to maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff. It will be important for us to remain committed to practicing our four cornerstones of sustainability - using face coverings, practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, and avoiding unnecessary risks. Please remember to monitor your student closely for any signs of illness and keep them at home when sick. These measures provide us with the best opportunity to keep everyone healthy and safe during this unique time."

Butts County School Superintendent Dr. Todd Simpson said Sept. 15 that the contact tracing identified five staff members and seven students at Stark as "close contacts," and that they were notified and will remain at home for the next two weeks. The students affected will transition back to virtual learning for that time period.

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