Many school staff members got their second COVID-19 vaccine dose Thursday, but the pandemic is still with us, as illustrated by the eight virus cases reported at the high school this week.
“It’s one of the higher number of cases we’ve had,” said EGHS Principal Ken Hopkins Thursday afternoon; he said the only other time when there were so many cases was in mid-January. Seven students and one staff member have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Hopkins said there’s no sign the cases are connected.
Supt. Alexis Meyer said there have been no cases at Cole Middle School this past week and only two at the elementary school level. In that instance, the two are siblings and no quarantining of close contacts was required in those cases. At the high school, however, some students have been told to quarantine; Hopkins did not have exact numbers.
“I see case numbers going up across the state and East Greenwich is not immune to what is going on around the state,” he said. According to the state Department of Health, the more contagious so-called “UK variant” accounts for 40 percent or more of cases and case numbers have increased in recent weeks.
At the weekly COVID-19 press conference Thursday, Gov. Dan McKee and DOH Director Nicole Alexander-Scott urged residents to continue to follow virus guidelines, particularly over the upcoming holiday weekend.
On Tuesday, the School Committee will hear from school administrators about a full in-person return to school for middle and high school students proposed for April 26. While elementary students have been going to school five days a week since October, older students have been following the hybrid school-distance approach.
Hopkins said students have taken the pandemic protocols very seriously. He said he understood everyone was sick of the virus but he wasn’t seeing any breakdown in behavior at school.
“Our students have been wonderful in following the COVID-related guidelines. I’ll tell you what, our students have been absolutely awesome,” he said.