Students at school touted by Pence for reopening must quarantine due to COVID-19

Vice President Mike Pence said the school was 'in the forefront' for reopening.

August 5, 2020, 2:33 PM

Fourth graders at a school in North Carolina have been asked to quarantine for 14 days after a student there tested positive for COVID-19.

The school, a Thales Academy in Wake Forest, said it was notified on Monday that the student became infected after having contact with an infected family member.

The student was asymptomatic and was last at school on Friday. Teachers who were exposed also will be quarantined.

Thales Academy, a network of private non-sectarian community schools with eight locations in North Carolina, made the news last week after Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a classroom and applauded the school for reopening.

Pence and DeVos visited a campus in Apex, not Wake Forest.

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence takes questions from fourth grade students at Thales Academy which reopened to students in Apex, N.C., July 29, 2020.
Vice President Mike Pence takes questions from fourth grade students at Thales Academy which reopened to students in Apex, N.C., July 29, 2020.
Gerry Broome/AP

"We're here today because to open up America, we've got to open up America's schools and Thales Academy is literally in the forefront," Pence said.

Pence also said that the administration was going to make sure schools had the resources to open safely.

"We really do believe that it's in the best interest of our children to be back in the classroom," the vice president added.

Thales welcomed students back July 20. It offered parents two options: fully online or fully in-person, according to ABC Durham affiliate WTVD.

Students had their temperatures taken and completed a medical questionnaire after they were dropped off, according to WTVD. Staff and faculty also reminded students to wear masks.

Because the school network is private, it doesn't have to adhere to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's school reopening guidelines.

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visit with teacher Allison Combs, left, and her fourth grade students at Thales Academy which reopened to students in Apex, N.C., July 29, 2020.
Vice President Mike Pence and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visit with teacher Allison Combs, left, and her fourth grade students at Thales Academy which reopened to students in Apex, N.C., July 29, 2020.
Gerry Broome/AP

Cooper announced in July that schools could reopen with both in-person and remote learning.

He said that schools that choose to reopen should operate in person at no more than 50% capacity and buses at no more than 33%.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has swayed on national guidance for reopening schools. Originally, the federal agency warned of the risks that come with reopening schools and issued recommendations. But on Thursday, two weeks after President Donald Trump demanded schools reopen, the CDC shifted its tone and released statements about children not being at a high risk of getting seriously ill, though its original guidance still remained on its website.

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