Regional district announces first positive result in Cape school.
HARWICH — Monomoy Regional High School has reported the first case of COVID-19 in a school on Cape Cod — just five days after the school opened for in-person learning.
“I’ve gone into this, as has my team, with my eyes wide open,” district Superintendent Scott Carpenter said Saturday night. “We are following the protocols we have prepared in advance.”
Carpenter made the announcement in a letter to parents late Saturday afternoon.
The school district was notified of the positive case late Friday night, Carpenter said, and then contacted health officials to confirm the results. By 9 a.m. Saturday, staff received the verification of the active, positive report and the Harwich Board of Health and the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod began contact tracing, he said.
All students and staff whom the school identified as being in close contact with or in any of the six classrooms with the person who tested positive were contacted Saturday to discuss the need to quarantine and next steps, Carpenter said.
The school district is following all health and safety protocols as directed, Carpenter said. The age of the person who tested positive is not being released, he said.
It appears from reports from the family and contract tracers that the person did not contract COVID-19 at school, Carpenter said.
“We’ve put in place a system that will keep people safe,” he said.
Carpenter believes the district’s adoption of the CDC’s 6-foot social distancing plan in classrooms is greatly reducing the number of potential infections.
“After watching each of our schools operate over the past week, we’ve all been impressed with how well our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols of mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing,” Carpenter wrote. “These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.”
The school district sanitizes every classroom in the district every night, Carpenter said, and a cleaning crew is doing additional sanitation at the high school this weekend in those areas frequented by the person who tested positive.
According to the state Department of Public Health weekly report issued Wednesday, Harwich had less than five active cases of COVID-19, for a total of 147 cases since reporting began. On Saturday, the department reported eight new cases in Barnstable County for a total of 1,705.
In the Monomoy School District, students in preschool through Grade 7 are attending school in person daily. Students in grades 8 through 12 are attending school in person two of every three days and are learning from home on the alternate days.
The district will continue to be vigilant in adhering to the sanitizing schedule and all protocols in place to continue in-person learning, Carpenter said.
“We had a great first five days,” he said. “So everyone else will be back in the classroom and — knock on wood — this is isolated.”
Follow Beth Treffeisen on Twitter: @BTreffeisenCCT.