Green Street Elementary School in Brattleboro.

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BRATTLEBORO — Four classrooms are closed due to COVID-19 at Green Street School.

“We became aware of a positive test result Friday night or Saturday,” Interim Superintendent Mark Speno said Tuesday.

By Monday night, school officials identified four classrooms where students would be considered “close contacts.” Laptops were provided to students and a remote learning system will be implemented Tuesday.

Interim Principal Kate Margaitis reported three positive cases and two presumed positive cases in the school community. She said the soonest students can return is Sept. 14 or seven days after negative COVID-19 tests.

“It’s a really hard place that we’re in,” she said. “We were all so excited to be back in the building with everybody and coming off a summer where we had masks off and we were able to socialize more. We, as a district, had some measures in place. So we’re working with those and I think we’re doing our best. But we could always do better, right?”

School Nurse Julia Duke said the cases are believed to be isolated, with infections occurring outside of the school.

The K-6 school has two classrooms for every grade. Families with students attending the elementary school were alerted about the closure of four classrooms in an email sent out Monday.

“All close contacts have been notified at this point,” Margaitis wrote to families. “If you have not been contacted, your child is not a close contact and is able to come to school.”

In the email, Margaitis acknowledged that the situation is stressful for the whole community.

“Our goal is to get students back to in-person learning as safely as possible,” she wrote. “Our building continues to be cleaned and disinfected on a regular basis.”

Citing medical privacy laws, Margaitis said she is unable to release the name of anyone with the virus. Ben Truman, public health communication officer for the Vermont Department of Health, said there are cases among people associated with Green Street School but there is no outbreak.

“It is crucial, that if your child has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, please keep them home,” Margaitis wrote. “This is the best way to keep our school community safe.”

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Last December, Green Street School closed and moved to remote learning after identifying a case within the school. At the time, Speno was principal of the school.

“I do know better than anyone those teachers are so talented and innovative that they will be able to support their kids and try to get them back in the building as soon as possible,” he said Tuesday.

Balancing the needs of students and concern about the Delta variant is “a major challenge,” Speno said.

“We’re taking it one day at a time and trying to be proactive and plan one day at a time as well,” he said. “It’s like you went from the excitement of getting everyone back into the building after a year and a half — you know, it was so great — to depression over the weekend knowing we had some exposure. But we’re doing our best to work through it and get everyone back into the building as soon as we can while also tracking everything as best as we can. Leaning on our health care professionals has been super important and our school nurses have been real heroes over the past few years, more than any other time.”

Speno called contact tracing “very time consuming.” He said Margaitis and Duke spent a majority of the holiday weekend making phone calls, “trying to dig into all of the details so that we could make good decisions.”

Contact tracing involves identifying people considered to be a close contact, Duke said.

“That typically means all members of a certain classroom,” she said. “Then we look at whether any teachers or staff members were considered a close contact. Then we inform the families of the students in the classroom and any staff members.”

Duke said if anyone in the school tests positive for the virus, the Department of Health conducts contact tracing with the family to identify close contacts outside of school.

Green Street School is distancing students as much as possible, she said, but it doesn’t always meet the 3 feet goal it strives for because all classes are in person now.

“We rely on mask wearing,” she said.

Teaching in the pandemic is challenging but school staff are doing their best and making safety the top priority, Margaitis said.

“Teaching is a difficult job to start with,” she said. “There’s a lot that goes into it. Now trying to teach our students in person after some students have not even been in a school in a year and have to worry about student safety, their own safety, family safety to students worrying about their own safety, there’s a lot of stress for everyone ... The work staff is doing is incredible, and the love and the care that they give to the students and their families is amazing. We will all get through this as a community, as a team, and take it one day at a time.”