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Wallace-Rose Hill High School has been identified as a COVID-19 cluster, after at least five individuals tested positive for the virus at the school.

KENANSVILLE — Last Thursday, Oct. 1, Duplin County Schools (DCS) released a statement, notifying the public of the first confirmed cluster of COVID-19 cases within the school district, at Wallace-Rose Hill High School.

“The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services defines a cluster as a minimum of five cases with symptom onset or initial positive test results within a 14-day period and probable linkage between cases,” a press release from DCS explained. “The Board of Education takes transparency very seriously and the school family has received notification from DCS each time there have been confirmed cases and will continue to do so.”

The press release goes on to further explain that when each individual positive case is reported to the school district, anyone with close contact to the individual(s) is contacted by the Duplin County Health Department. “If individuals were not contacted by the Health Department, then it was determined that no contact was needed.”

To protect the families’ privacy, no further information or identifying details will be released.

Once a COVID-19 cluster is identified, school officials perform a thorough cleaning and disinfecting process.

“In addition to our current disinfecting procedures, Duplin County Schools will conduct additional deep cleaning and disinfecting of any affected areas in the school,” DCS spokesperson Christy Johnson said. “In addition to our staff continuing to perform daily self-screenings, as an extra safety precaution, designated school personnel will now conduct staff health screenings as they arrive on campus.”

DCS will continue to monitor the situation, along with the Duplin County Health Department, and will share any further pertinent information with the school community, Johnson said.

“We encourage everyone to conduct daily health screenings and be mindful to wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and practice social distancing,” the press release concludes.

Abby Cavenaugh may be reached at acavenaugh@ncweeklies.com or 910-296-0239.