SOUTHINGTON — A second coronavirus case at Southington High School prompted a return to at-home learning Wednesday while a case at Hatton Elementary School resulted in no changes for students or teachers.
School Superintendent Tim Connellan announced both cases on Tuesday. In his letter, he wrote contact tracing was underway in both cases and didn’t specify if students or teachers had the virus.
Southington High School was closed for in-person learning Monday and Tuesday last week after a confirmed COVID case with a student in cohort A.
In this week’s announcement, Connellan said the affected person was in cohort B and last in school on Sept. 24. Anyone who might have been in close contact with the person would be notified no later than Tuesday evening and should quarantine for 14 days.
“Contact tracing is a critical and time-consuming process, especially in a school the size of Southington High School and staff are working diligently at this task,” Connellan wrote Tuesday. “If you do not receive a ‘close contact’ notification this evening, it means that the information collected by the school or the health department indicates that your child or you as a staff member have not been in close contact with a confirmed case.”
While the school would be closed Wednesday, Connellan said he anticipated students could return today.
Hatton Elementary School
A similar procedure was in place for Hatton where the affected person was last in school on Sept. 25. In-person learning would continue with the exception of anyone contacted by Tuesday evening with instructions to quarantine.
Connellan addressed concern among parents and teachers with the district’s safety measures, including face masks, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting and good ventilation.
“Our first priority is to ensure a safe and healthy school environment,” Connellan wrote.
Since Hatton is a smaller school with classrooms that stay together from day to day, it’s easier to determine who might have been in close contact with someone who tests positive. Connellan said the high school is not only larger but students change classes within the cohort, making contact tracing more time-consuming.
Terri Carmody, school board chairwoman, feels the schools are doing everything they can to prevent the spread of the virus.
“We are following all the procedures. Schools are just doing such a wonderful job,” she said. “It’s just an inevitable thing.”
Carmody said the district would wait for guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or local health districts before switching to at-home learning for the year.
“Let’s just pray it doesn’t happen,” she said.