BELLOWS FALLS — A member of the Bellows Falls Middle School community tested positive for COVID-19, according to an announcement by Superintendent Christopher Pratt, posted late Wednesday afternoon on the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union website.
“While we found out about this positive case today, the individual has not been in school since Thursday, February 11. Since then we have been working closely with the Vermont Department of Health and contact tracing is being conducted. Anyone who was in close contact with the person will or has been notified and asked to quarantine,” Pratt’s announcement stated.
“I want to assure you that we have been following all protocols and that the instructional spaces used by the individual will be thoroughly cleaned. In addition to contacting individuals who may have had close contact, we have reached out to all families and staff that may have been exposed,” he added.
Pratt said the case “shouldn’t affect school and we should be able to return on time. Everything’s been cleaned.”
The school is currently on vacation break, and students are expected back next Monday, Feb. 22. The school has been operating on a four-day-a-week schedule for the lower grades, while seventh and eighth graders are only in class two days a week because of social distancing requirements.
He said the school district is working with the Vermont Department of Health, and would follow the Health Department’s guidance for child care and summer programs. “We cleaned and disinfected the Bellows Falls Middle School per the Health Department’s guidance,” he said.
Employees and sick children will not return to work until they are healthy, he said.
“Thank you for understanding that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of the individuals with COVID-19. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you. With your participation, we believe we can create a safe and fun experience for your children,” Pratt said.
He stressed that “the most important things” parents can do is to make sure their child is wearing a mask and washing their hands, and keeping their child at home if they are sick.
Parents should call their primary care provider if their child has symptoms of COVID-19, Pratt added.
People with questions can call the Vermont Department of Health at 802-863-7240 (option 8) or go to their website: healthvermont.gov/covid-19