N.C. Superintendent visits Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center & school with recent COVID cluster

Quarantined Swansboro High School students are returning to the classroom, according to school officials, after a cluster of cases was confirmed less than two weeks ago.
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 7:17 PM EDT
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ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - North Carolina Superintendent Catherine Truitt was in Onslow County Thursday for the first time since taking office.

Truitt toured the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center, where she got an up-close look at the vocational skills students are learning, from mechanical work to nursing to the culinary arts.

“We have to provide as many pathways as possible for students when they graduate from high school so that they can have lots and lots of options,” said Truitt. “Graduating students who are college and career ready.”

That’s the key that Truitt said she campaigned on leading up to her election in November. The center enrolls students from Onslow, Duplin and Jones County schools.

“We’re just really proud of it,” said Barry Collins, Superintendent for Onslow County Schools. “And we want to show everyone what we have here and get more of our kids interested in coming into the CTE program.”

Truitt’s trip included a visit to Summersill Elementary School, where she was presented with the district’s work on the Science of Reading and other literacy initiatives, according to school officials.

It also included a classroom visit at Swansboro High School, where school officials confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 cases, defined as at least five or more close contacts, less than two weeks ago.

“The majority of those cases were not connected inside the school, they were coming from outside the school,” said Collins.

School officials could not confirm a specific number of cases at the school or how many students were quarantined as a result but did say the students are returning to the classroom now.

It’s a characterization of a challenging first school year for Truitt.

“The state board and I were on the same page about how we thought schools would open and when,” said Truitt. “And we did eventually align with DHHS.”

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