ANWSD has COVID case in middle school

VERGENNES — The Addison Northwest School District has experienced another case of COVID-19 among its school population of staff and students, according to a Tuesday email sent out to district families by ANWSD Superintendent Sheila Soule.
“Today, January 18, 2021, we learned about a person with COVID-19 at Vergennes Union Middle School who was in school for a portion of the school day during their infectious period on Thursday, 1/14/21,” according to Soule’s email.
Soule wrote, however, “In this instance, there are very few close contacts.”
Last week a Vergennes Union Elementary School class in which a student or staff member was infected with the coronavirus was switched to remote learning. In this instance Soule said the district will instead rely on contact tracing being performed on an unspecified number of students and staff members.
“Based on tracking an individual’s activity on the day(s) in question, the individual’s close contacts have been determined and have already been contacted by school officials. A close contact is anyone that was in close proximity (less than 6 feet) to the COVID-positive person during the period they were infectious for more than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period,” Soule wrote.
“Additionally, the Department of Health will be in touch with identified close contacts.”
The latest ANWSD COVID case apparently brings the district’s total to 10 since the start of the academic year in September.
A Jan. 10 email to families from Soule and other ANWSD administrators announced the first of two cases at VUES and acknowledged the district had, to that point, eight cases among staff and students since September. It did not include the ninth case that surfaced at VUES the next day.
Soule then told the ANWSD board at its Jan. 11 meeting the second VUES case had been identified. But she said the two cases at VUES were almost certainly not related, meaning the district still had not seen “schoolwide spread” this school year. Rather, Soule said, the infections were the result of “community spread.”
As always, the latest coronavirus patient was not identified.
“Thank you for understanding that, due to medical privacy laws, we are not able to release the names of individuals with COVID-19 or those identified as close contacts. We will continue to communicate changes and updates with you,” Soule wrote on Tuesday morning. 
“With your participation, we believe we can continue to keep the workplace safe. Signing into rooms and spaces used throughout the day will help with contact tracing to ensure its accuracy should it be needed.”
Soule also reminded ANWSD families that symptoms could still just now be surfacing among those who attended holiday gatherings, and asked for their continued cooperation.
“Vermont has prioritized testing at this time given the recent holiday break. If you gathered outside of your household it is strongly recommended that you get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible. Please do not send your child to school if they are symptomatic or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.”

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