'Really anxious': Parent worries as Wake schools grapple with COVID cases

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cary mother Renee Sekel said she is concerned about the number of COVID-19 cases among Wake County staff members and students.

"I'm feeling really worried," said Sekel.

Just Tuesday, 22 pending cases among staff and 103 pending cases were reported among students, according to the Wake County Public School System's COVID-19 dashboard.

"I'm really anxious for us, for our family," Sekel said. "School is the biggest risk we're taking right now. We're not going to the mall. We're not going to sports events. We're not doing any of that. School is the only place my kids get to go. And I feel like they're not safe there right now and if they get COVID, it's because they get it in school."

Sekel said she was notified one of her three children was exposed to COVID-19 at school.

"I don't know who, I don't know how," Sekel said. "I don't know where. I just know that he's been exposed and it's frightening."

The ABC11 data team combed through the Wake County Public School System COVID-19 dashboard and found possible staff cases have increased by 132% and possible student cases increased by 23% compared to about a month ago (Dec. 6-14).

In addition, there were 109 possible cases among staff and 379 possible cases among students between Jan. 3-11. Some of those cases are still pending. This comes as Omicron-variant cases surge.

A district spokesperson said the district sent an update to parents Tuesday with information about the new CDC guidelines for quarantine and information about faster testing.

Last week, the district told ABC11 that it had a slightly higher number of teacher absences but didn't know whether they were COVID-related.

On Wednesday, the district told ABC11 that it will have absence numbers at the end of the month since staff members still have time to submit timesheets and leave forms.

To attract substitute teachers, the district raised pay.

For example, a non-certified sub would get paid $115 a day now compared to $80, according to a district spokesperson.
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