Concerns on social media about possible COVID-19 outbreak at Kinston High School lead to confusion

Coronavirus

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Many parents of students at Kinston High School became concerned on Monday after they saw posts on social media that claimed members of Kinston High School’s junior varsity football team had tested positive for COVID-19.

Lenoir County Public Schools officials said Monday they’re doing everything they can to keep parents informed and students safe.

“There was a lot of parents getting their kids out of school, a lot,” said Jessie Joyner, a Kinston High grandparent.

Joyner was one of those in line to pick up her grandson from school.

(Erin Jenkins, WNCT photo)

“My daughter called me and told me that I needed to go to Kinston High to pick up my grandson because they had some positive cases,” Joyner said. “He plays for varsity, so I guess it’s from the junior varsity football team where some of the members had COVID.”

Lenoir County Public Schools said this was caused by misleading information spreading online. Some students were notified as close contacts, but only those students needed to leave school.

“We want parents to know accurate information will come from your school’s principal and or district office immediately,” said Nicholas Harvey, Lenoir County Public Schools assistant superintendent. “If you are identified as a close contact you will be notified.”

Joyner said she wishes the school would have addressed that information.

“Even if they sent an email to parents saying that some of those kids have tested positive and we have isolated those kids so that when things come out on social media, we would know that they are handling it properly,” said Joyner.

Harvey said they can look into something like mass communication, but the priority is notifying those actually impacted first so they can go through appropriate testing and quarantining protocols.

“That is something we can look at going into the future, but our priority is the positive cases, identifying those close contacts and getting them notified as quickly as possible,” Harvey said.

According to the Lenoir County Public Schools COVID-19 dashboard, as of last week, there were eight COVID positive students at Kinston High. The dashboard is updated every Monday for the previous week.

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