Cheshire’s Highland School to reopen Friday; Wallingford officials probe COVID-19 case on school bus

Cheshire’s Highland School to reopen Friday; Wallingford officials probe COVID-19 case on school bus

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Cheshire’s Highland Elementary School is scheduled to reopen for in-person instruction today, following a one-day closure after a worker who cleans the school’s restrooms tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.

Meanwhile, in Wallingford, school district district and local health officials on Thursday informed families of a positive case that had been idenfitied aboard a school bus. 

In Cheshire, Highland entered into a remote learning day on Thursday after the positive case was identified. The closure was a precautionary measure to allow school district and health officials to initiate contact tracing. Through that tracing officials determined no one else in the Highland building had been in close contact with the individual.

School officials announced Highland’s reopening through the Cheshire Public Schools’ Twitter account. Carol Jesensky, executive assistant for School Superintendent Jeffrey Solan, confirmed officials’ plan to reopen the school as usual. 

The positive COVID-19 case was reported through a rapid test. 

Highland’s closure on Thursday was announced in a notice to the school’s families Wednesday. In that notice, Solan explained the reason for the closure had been to ensure the individual “had not been in close contact with any individuals in the school” over the previous three days.

That individual, a “day porter” is an outside contractor who is not directly employed by the district.

Solan wrote, “While we believe it is highly unlikely that they would be within six feet of another individual for fifteen minutes or longer, we must be positive. Therefore, we will be holding a remote school day on a two-hour delayed opening schedule tomorrow, 9/17/2020.”

The building had already been sanitized and disinfected, and was to undergo further cleaning, Solan explained. 

“Again, as a parent and a professional, I appreciate how disruptive this is to families and I appreciate your understanding as we work to assure that we don’t turn this issue into a major problem for the Highland community,” Solan wrote Wednesday night. 

Wallingford school bus

Meanwhile, in Wallingford, families were informed by officials late Thursday afternoon that an individual associated with the district who rides a bus had tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials had begun tracing to determine close connections with the case, according to an email to families that was issued jointly by Wallingford Superintendent Salvatore Menzo, town health director Stephen Civitelli and district nurse coordinator Kathy Neelon. The email did not state a specific bus or school with which the case is connected.

“In working with the Wallingford Health Department and in direct consultation with the State Department of Public Health, it was determined that the COVID-19 confirmed case was in close contact with one or more people while on the school bus,” the letter stated. 

In this particular case, individuals identified as potential close contacts would be those who had been seated within six feet of the person who tested positive “for at least 15 minutes,” the notice stated.  

“Please note that not all students will be considered close contacts on a given bus due to where they were sitting,” according to the letter. Only families whose students were identified as close contacts will be notified, not entire buses, officials explained. 

“The Wallingford Public School District and Wallingford Health Department are committed to maintaining a safe environment for students and staff,” the letter stated. “We continue to proactively monitor illness of students and staff, apply cleaning protocols, and social distancing practices.  We will continue to review the circumstances of this case and will make any necessary adjustments in our plans.” 


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