SYRACUSE — Social media posts regarding cases of COVID-19 in Wawasee Community schools have been gaining traction and the school district has issued a statement.
A release from Geoffrey Walmer, Wawasee High School principal, confirmed that Wawasee High School has had one positive case.
The following information was sent to parents Wednesday afternoon, Aug. 18, regarding the positive case and action being taken by the school.
Walmer said in the email that the school was notified of the student’s positive test result Monday evening and that the student had not been in school Monday. Therefore, any student or teacher who was in close contact with the student who tested positive is being quarantined. As this situation is expected to occur again, Walmer than addressed some frequently asked questions.
“When the school receives notification of a positive case, we immediately identify that person’s last day of attendance at school. The individual/guardian provides the school with a thorough list of any person they’ve been in close contact with for a period designated by the health department. The school also obtains the seating charts for the classes the individual attended. Teachers and staff assist in identifying any other school personnel who may have been in close contact with the individual who tested positive.
“According to the health department, a close contact is determined to be anyone that has been within six feet for more than 15 minutes with or without mask use. Anyone that is determined to be in that group is to quarantine at home for 14 days from the last date of exposure. For the students that quarantine, the household members do not have to quarantine as they are not close contacts of the positive case. That, of course, changes if symptoms develop.
“Those that quarantine are not recommended by the health department to get tested unless they begin showing symptoms.”
In his email Walmer recognized the possible inconvenience of a 14-day quarantine, but that the precautions are taken for the safety of the staff and students and to allow the school to remain open for in-person instruction.
In addition, Walmer mentioned proactive measures the school is taking. “When students are called in ill for the day, our nurse and attendance staff follow up with each student and their guardian to determine the nature of the illness and provide special instructions for returning to school.
“Lastly, any student placed in quarantine should receive communication from each of their teachers within 24-48 hours. Teachers will be working alongside the students to keep them engaged in learning so that their transition back to the classroom can be as smooth as possible.”
Wawasee Superintendent Dr. Tom Edington commented, “No Wawasee Community School teachers have tested positive since the school year began. There has been a positive student test. We have had instances of quarantine for both students and staff due to being in close contact with someone with the virus. That can happen both in and out of school.
“Our school day begins a half-hour later than previous years to allow teachers to reach out to their students who are in quarantine or with the virus.
“Our school nurses and administrators work with the county health department on virus-related situations. Wawasee is working with our students, staff and parents to keep this virus to a minimum level,” he said.