Six positive COVID-19 cases recently confirmed in schools across the Lamoille North school district have been traced back to two social gatherings, according to school officials.
“All these cases are community transmission,” Lamoille North superintendent Cat Gallagher said. “They all seemed to be traced back to two different social gatherings.”
The six confirmed cases were found at four schools — three at Green Mountain Technology and Career Center and one at Lamoille Union Middle School, both in Hyde Park, and another at Waterville Elementary School. A single case involving someone in the Cambridge Elementary School community was also confirmed Sunday, Nov. 15, bringing the total in the district to six.
The other schools in the district, Eden Central School, Hyde Park Elementary, Johnson Elementary and Lamoille Union High School, had no confirmed positive cases as of Tuesday, Nov. 17.
Contact tracing began as soon as the first case was confirmed at the tech center and has continued at the affected schools. Gallagher said that work has led school leaders and state health officials to conclude that no in-school transmission is taking place. Rather, the cases stem from those two social gatherings outside school; Gallagher would not disclose when and where those social gatherings occurred.
Students at all four of the impacted schools are scheduled to return to in-person learning beginning Thursday, Nov. 19. In-person learning has continued as normal at the other schools in the district.
Gallagher said new protocols are now in place for any school where a positive case is found.
“We quarantine that pod, or person, and move to a full 48 hours of remote learning for the rest of the school,” Gallagher said. That 48-hour period is meant to allow for several deep cleans of the school and gives staff time to assist the Vermont Department of Health with contact tracing.
Then, as long as everything looks OK, students can return to in-person learning.