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Rockingham County parents concerned over possible school COVID-19 exposures

News 2 spoke with parents who are especially worried about the possible spread in cafeterias.

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. — Nearly 800 students and 50 staff members in Rockingham County Schools are in quarantine, possibly exposed to COVID-19.

The high number has many parents concerned for the safety of their kids. The school district said 101 students and 11 staff members tested positive for COVID-19 from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. 

WFMY News 2 spoke with parents who are especially concerned about the possible spread in cafeterias.

One parent, we spoke with said she's worried about the number of students in the cafeteria and hallways when changing classes. Another parent said her daughter tries to stay away from cafeteria areas and she's concerned about the delta variant.

Dr. Suresh Nagappan is the pediatric medical director at Cone Health. He said school cafeterias are a risk due to less mask-wearing. He said keeping students spread out is important.

"Set up the cafeteria rooms so that it's automatic. So, just block off the seats, block off every other seat or however your seating works in that respect," Nagappan said. 

He also said, studies show, the biggest spread comes from outside of schools.

"Socializing at home and all sorts of different places, it's great to do all that stuff in school, but we have to still do it outside of school. So, if you are in a house with someone else or on a sports team, the masks are still important," Nagappan said. 

We also talked with Adam Powell, the PIO for Rockingham County Schools. In an email, he said, "COVID-19 transmissions are coming through a wide range of community exposures throughout all levels of schools right now."

Just over a week ago, Powell did reference lunch tables as a place where COVID was spreading. The Rockingham County School Superintendent wasn't available for comment Wednesday. 

The school district did tweet:

 "Please know we are working so hard to keep everyone safe."