Coronavirus cases reported at Thales Academy schools in NC

The entire fourth grade at Thales Academy’s Wake Forest campus will be quarantined for two weeks after one of the students tested positive for the coronavirus, the school said Tuesday.

The fourth-grader at the private school, which started a new school year July 20 with in-person instruction, contracted the virus from a family member, school spokesperson Holly Clark wrote The News & Observer in an email.

“Thales Academy will continue thorough cleanings throughout the school day,” Clark wrote. “Thales Academy is committed to numerous safety protocols and will continue to work to keep students, staff and families as safe and healthy as possible.”

Clark also confirmed that a kindergartner at the Thales Academy’s Knightdale campus also tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but the school will continue normal operations, Clark said.

“State health officials advised Thales Academy that no staff or children are at risk of exposure due to the date when the student’s symptoms began and the date the student was last present on campus,” Clark wrote about the kindergartner.

Thales Academy has 10 campuses, including eight in North Carolina, according to its website.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited Thales academy’s Apex location to talk with students and staff about how the school had reopened amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Because it’s a private school, it does not need to follow the same rules that Gov. Roy Cooper has set for public schools, The News & Observer reported. Public schools will reopen across the state Aug. 17, with a mix of in-person and virtual learning, or will have only online instruction.

Thales Academy follows safety guidelines that include daily temperature checks, small class sizes, social distancing, staggered classes, and no mass gatherings, The N&O reported.

Clark said the fourth-grader passed the daily temperature check and symptom screening checklist for school entry and was asymptomatic throughout their time at school.

Still, because the student was in contact will all of their classmates in the fourth grade, all students and teachers in four fourth-grade classes will quarantine for 14 days, Clark said.

Clark did not know how many students are in the four classes.

During Pence’s visit, the vice president said Thales is at “the forefront of reopening schools in America,” The N&O reported.

This is at least the third instance where someone connected with Thales Academy has tested positive for COVID-19.

On July 20, the Thales Academy location in Raleigh closed temporarily after a visiting staff member tested positive for COVID-19 the first week of school.

Related stories from Durham Herald Sun

Ashad Hajela reports on public safety for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He studied journalism at New York University.

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