On September 16, 2020

First few Covid cases reported at Vt. schools

Hartford High stays open after one case, Crossett Brook moves remote after two

Staff report

Hartford High School announced Sunday, Sept. 13, that a student had tested positive for Covid-19. But state health officials said the case was sufficiently isolated and that school could remain open as planned on Monday, according to Superintendent Tom DeBalsi.

“The professionals we consulted with from the Department of Health reviewed the potential risk factors for others at the high school that may have come into contact with the student who tested positive,” DeBalsi wrote in a letter to the school community Sunday evening. “Based on this review, the Department of Health did not identify any ongoing risk or any need for further intervention or contact tracing at this time. They also indicated that the strategies that we have in place, including our hybrid schedule that allows for our

students to be physically distanced in our classrooms, greatly minimize the risk for close contact, as they define it.”

DeBalsi’s email communications furnish a timeline: The school district learned of the positive test on Saturday evening, the student’s physician reported the positive test to the Vermont Department of Health and the school was cleaned and disinfected per Health Department guidance.

“While we certainly had hoped, for many reasons, not to have a positive test, this was not unanticipated,” DeBalsi wrote.

Hartford High is not the first Vermont school to report a case of Covid-19. Crossett Brook Middle School, in Duxbury, moved to remote learning this week after two students, a 5th grader and a 7th grader, tested positive last week.

Those two students had attended school in-person on Tuesday, Sept. 8 – the first day of school – and afterward tested positive for the virus. The Duxbury school serves about 300 students in grades 5 to 8.

“I know many are worried about the three student cases announced yesterday,” said Gov. Phil Scott in the press conference Tuesday, Sept. 15. “But as Dr. Levine will cover, the Health Dept. epi team has a proven record of containing spread and we have strong protocols at schools to limit risk… we knew there would be cases at schools, but we are fully prepared to contain them so in-person instruction can quickly — but most importantly safely — resume.”

Scott said that while 70% of Vermont schools are currently offering remote learning three or more days per week, pediatricians and other heath experts agree that some level of in-person instruction is extremely valuable for students and he hopes that more students will have that opportunity more of the week as the fall semesters proceeds.

Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont Commissioner of Health added that 23 close contacts had been identified associated with the cases at Crossett Brook and all had been contacted. He said the Hartford case was still under investigation but, thus far, no close contacts were identified.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Large turnout for Hartland school budget info session

May 23, 2024
By Curt Peterson The May 21 Hartland school budget information session may be the best-attended school board gathering in recent history — an estimated 40 people attended in person at Damon Hall in Hartland, and another 41 tuned in online. Hartland voters had already approved the $11,040,567 budget 320-311 on April 2. But a petition…

20 degrees above average: May temps soar

May 22, 2024
By Erin Petenko/VTDigger Vermont is forecast to hit temperatures in the upper 80s Tuesday and Wednesday, far above normal for this time of year, the Vermont branch of the National Weather Service reported on Monday, May 20. Parts of the state, particularly the Champlain Valley down to Rutland in the west and the Connecticut River Valley regions to…

Gov. Scott vetoes bill that would’ve restricted bee-killing pesticide

May 22, 2024
Staff report On Monday, May 20, World Bee Day, Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation meant to protect bees and other pollinators from a widely-used neuorotoxic pesticide. The bill (H.706) would  eliminate most uses of neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) in Vermont, which have been associated with alarming losses of managed and wild bee populations. Neonic insecticides are used on…

Piper takes on 10 marathons in 10 days, for charity

May 22, 2024
By John Flowers Salisbury’s Chip Piper will have run more during the next 10 days than most of us will run in a year. And he’ll be doing it for an important cause. Piper on Thursday, May 16, began running the first of 10 consecutive marathons in 10 days — a staggering 262 miles —…