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Covid cases continue to rise in Arlington and in local schools

Covid cases in Arlington as of 5/6/22 (via Virginia Dept. of Health)

(Updated at 3:15 p.m.) Arlington remains on the upslope of what is increasingly looking like the pandemic’s fifth wave.

Thanks to high vaccination rates, this wave is locally more disruptive than deadly, but the county is starting to see a rise in Covid hospitalizations as well.

As of today the seven-day moving average of new daily cases is just shy of 140, up by nearly 50% from the 95 daily cases reported three weeks ago.

Arlington was just joined in the CDC’s “medium” Covid level by neighboring Fairfax County, which is seeing 210 weekly cases per 100,000 residents, compared to Arlington’s 376 weekly cases per 100,000. The City of Alexandria reached the “medium” Covid level on April 20.

Both counties are reporting 3.4 weekly Covid hospitalizations per 100,000 people, according to CDC data. Arlington reported 1.9 weekly hospitalizations per 100,000 people less than four weeks ago.

Arlington’s Covid test positivity rate has been climbing over the past few days and currently stands at 11.2%.

Arlington Public Schools, meanwhile, is reporting 317 student cases over the past week, up from 198 two weeks ago, immediately following spring break. A trio of North Arlington schools — Glebe Elementary, Yorktown High School and Cardinal Elementary — have the highest case total over the past week, with 20-30 cases each. (Kenmore Middle School also reported 20 cases.)

The H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Rosslyn this week told families that nearly 20% of its senior class had tested positive for Covid over the course of two days, just ahead of AP exams and prom.

A reader shared the following email with ARLnow.

Dear families of seniors:

We wanted to make you aware that as of today, 18 seniors have reported testing positive for Covid in the last 2 days. This is almost 20% of our senior class.

We are sending emails to the families of students who are identified as close contacts via seating charts but we know that many seniors congregate at lunch, after school and on the weekends.

To mitigate further spread amongst our seniors we would ask you to consider the following strategies:

  • Keep your student home if they are not feeling well (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches cold symptoms, etc that are not explained by an alternate diagnosis). Even if they are testing negative.
  • Test your student regularly using an at home test.
  • Ask your student to mask to protect themselves and those around them especially if they have been in close contact with someone who tested positive.

We would like every senior to be able to take their AP exams on time, go to Prom on May 17, and participate in all of their end of year activities. Please stay healthy!

Thank you,

Casey

Casey Robinson, Principal
H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program

Currently, the APS Covid dashboard is showing 18 cases over the past week for H-B Woodlawn, up from 15 immediately after the above email was sent out.

Asked at the time about the discrepancy, an APS spokesman noted that the dashboard only tracks voluntary parent questionnaires.

“Qualtrics is the questionnaire that is sent via text and email to families daily that asks if a students has symptoms, been in contact with someone or tested positive,” said Frank Bellavia. “We encourage families to fill it out each morning, but they are not required to.”

Bellavia said that APS is encouraging use of masks in schools, though mask wearing remains optional.

“We encourage students and staff to wear masks in schools since cases levels in Arlington are at the ‘medium’ level,” the school spokesman said. “APS also adheres to the recommended quarantine and isolation protocols for staff and students to reduce the spread of COVID. Additional measures include encouraging families to test if their student has symptoms and to sign their students up for weekly screening testing offered weekly in schools. We’ve also provided free at-home COVID tests and provide test-to-stay for students who are not vaccinated.”

Covid cases in Arlington Public Schools as of 5/6/22 (via APS)

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