A staff member at the Gertrude Chamberlain Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19, Superintendent David Young confirmed in a call on Friday morning, Nov. 6.

School leaders have been in contact with the Vermont Department of Health, who advised in favor of keeping the school open. It is open currently.

The Department of Health’s contract tracers have called people who might have had close contact with the sick staff member.

Close contact is defined as “being within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, of someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 during their infectious period,” according to the Department of Health website. 

Young believed about four or five people had been contacted and told to quarantine.

The Chamberlin positive is the third positive in the district since opening in September.

Last month, a student at the high school tested positive. About four students who had been in close contact were told to quarantine and the virus did not spread, Young said.

There was also a member of the Rick Marcotte Central School who tested positive for the virus in the beginning of November. 

On Nov. 5, Brett Wilde wrote on social media that he believed Chamberlin School should be temporarily closed until every student and staff member in question could be identified and quarantined. 

“This is late notice for people planning to send their kids to school tomorrow, and frankly irresponsible to rush the contact tracing within a 12-hour period when, clearly, there will be more cases arising that we cannot account for over the next few days,” Wilde wrote.

Young said that he understands concerns, but the district is following guidelines and taking precautions. 

“We're all following, to the best of our ability, advisement that's coming out of the Department of Health, Doctor Levine and the Governor's guidance,” Young said. 

Since opening, the school community has taken precautions like wearing face masks, hand washing, distancing, learning outside when possible, opening classroom windows, using air filtration devices and thoroughly cleaning classrooms, Young said. 

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