WESTMINSTER — A student at Bellows Falls Union High School tested positive for COVID-19 over the holiday break, but the case is not expected to have an impact on the operation of the school, according to Superintendent Christopher Pratt.
Pratt announced the single case in an email to the school community Saturday evening. It is the third student case in the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union this school year, following two students at the Westminster Center School this fall, Pratt said.
The individual school boards in the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union voted in November to have classes go on the remote schedule the week after both Thanksgiving and Christmas, to cut down on the possibility of coronavirus transmission. Students and teachers aren’t expected back in the classroom until Monday, Jan. 11.
Pratt said the student’s diagnosis and the timing of their exposure before Christmas meant that people at the school were not exposed to the individual while they were contagious. He said in the BFUHS case, the extra week of remote learning actually had no impact on what would have been the school’s handling of the case.
Back in the fall, at the time of the Westminster elementary school case, that school went on a remote schedule for a week and no further cases were reported.
Pratt said in those three cases in the supervisory union, exposure to the virus came not at the school.
“With the timing of this latest case, remote days didn’t have an impact either way. If we have any cases pop up this week, the remote learning week would definitely work to our advantage,” Pratt said in an email on Monday.
Pratt said the school was contacted by the Vermont Department of Health on Jan. 1, and he said the contagious period for the individual included the last few days of school, before the break.
”Because of the nature of the BFUHS daily schedules during the contagious period, coupled with the daily schedule of the person who received the positive test, we have no identified close contacts from those school days,” he said.
”However, out of an abundance of caution, the BFUHS administration has made phone calls to those students and staff in the same classes as the person who has tested positive. If the BFUHS school nurse has not contacted you, then you were not in the same classes as this individual,” he said.
The name and status of the case will remain confidential to protect their HIPAA rights around medical issues, he added.
”The individual has done the appropriate follow-up steps, working with the health department, and will only return to school once they are symptom-free without medication,” he said.