Staff steps up to help school lunch program after COVID-19 exposures

Pictured is DeKalb County Superintendent Jason Barnett and Assistant Superintendent Brian Thomas helping in a school lunchroom this week.

DeKalb County Superintendent Jason Barnett announced on Thursday they had positive COVID-19 results within the Child Nutrition Programs staff.

Barnett said although he could not provide all the details, the positive case resulted in a quarantine of all those who had met the criteria for exposure which included the CNP staff.

“Out of an abundance of caution and following all guidelines, we directly communicated with any and all individuals who met the criteria for direct exposure as defined by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control, which did not include any students,” he said.

While the public worried about an outbreak in the schools, Barnett said most of those not attending school are quarantined due to an exposure and do not have, nor have had the virus.

He said the majority of those out meet the criteria for exposure but fortunately have not had symptoms or tested positive for the virus.

“Today [Thursday, October 8, 2020], we are at 94.64% student attendance across the district. This is wonderful for any day, but even more so when the majority of those absent are feeling well,” said Barnett.

Those absent are following the quarantine, requirements and guidelines set by ADPH and CDC.

Due to the CNP staff exposure and quarantine Barnett said over the past couple of days they have been shorthanded at a couple of schools.

“This gave us the opportunity to all pitch in and support one another during this time. I want to thank everyone from the assistant superintendents, principals, assistant principals, teachers, counselors, breakstore workers, secretaries, substitutes, etc. who all chipped in to support our students and one another,” he said.

Barnett said while there are no experts in the lunchroom, all safety precautions as outlined by the ADPH, CDC and the Food Nutrition Safety guidelines have been followed as well as the use of Personal Protective Equipment including gloves and mask.

“I ask that you join me in thanking the lunchroom staff for all they do for our students daily and also thank those who are stepping up to support our student,” he said.

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