More than 150 people with COVID-19 have attended school or school-sponsored activities during their infectious period in South Carolina, according to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
DHEC reported Friday that 89 school students and 69 employees have confirmed cases of the virus and have attended public, charter and private schools statewide.
"It’s important to remember that this reporting does not mean that students, faculty or staff contracted the virus at school; only those students, faculty and staff who physically attend school or a school’s campus on a regular basis will be included in the counts; and some schools may choose to self-announce cases before they are reflected in DHEC’s twice-weekly reports," DHEC wrote in a press release.
In Aiken County, such cases were reported at Aiken High, Hammond Hill Elementary and North Augusta High.
The exact number of cases in each school is unavailable, as DHEC only lists "less than 5" for each of them.
Hammond Hill has at least one case among both faculty and students. Aiken High had at least one faculty member test positive, and North Augusta High had at least one student test positive.
Due to different reporting and verification processes at the local and state level, there are some differences between DHEC's numbers and the Aiken County Public School District's data from this week.
The Aiken County school district reported 11 total cases Thursday, including at the schools listed by DHEC and these additional locations: Langley-Bath-Clearwater Middle, Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle, South Aiken High and the transportation department.
Mike Rosier, communications coordinator at the Aiken County school district, explained that not all 11 people with COVID-19 entered a school building. The reporting period for the Thursday numbers was Aug. 23 to Sept. 2, which includes several days before the school year began.
Another factor that could cause differences between DHEC's numbers and the school district's numbers is simply which organization receives the information first, according to Rosier, and DHEC may need additional time to verify the school district's reports.
For more information about COVID-19 in South Carolina schools, visit S.C. DHEC's website.
For updates and information about how the pandemic is affecting the Aiken County Public School District, visit acpsd.net.