WEST JEFFERSON — Eight students of Westwood Elementary have tested positive for COVID-19, according to AppHealthCare.

According to AppHealthCare Director of Communications and Compliance Melissa Bracey, the health department believes the students were exposed at home to family members who have also tested positive.

“We continue to work closely with Ashe County Schools to notify the school community when a confirmed case was at school during their infectious period,” Bracey said. “Public health staff also reach out to individuals who have tested positive, or their parent or guardian, and have been identified as close contacts within 6 feet of distance or less and 15 minutes or more, so those individuals can quarantine.”

According to Ashe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Eisa Cox, the school system has been working closely with AppHealthCare throughout the school year for situations like this. Cox said that while there was an adjustment to the way schools are operating in the global pandemic, ACS has figured out the routine and has been working well in it.

At the Ashe County Board of Education meeting Thursday, Sept. 24, Cox presented case and quarantine data for the school system since Aug. 13. The data presented was current as of 5 p.m. Sept. 24.

According to the data, there have been 12 total students in the district that have tested positive for COVID-19 since Aug. 13. Three of those were at the high school, with one current. There have been eight cases at Westwood, with four current. There was also one positive current case at Ashe Early Learning Center.

According to Director of Maintenance Jerry Baker, all of the highly-touched areas are being cleaning constantly at all district schools. The “deep cleaning” days, which are Wednesdays and Fridays, are when custodial staff members focus on the other areas which are not highly touched.

Bailey Little contributed reporting to this story.

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