By Randy Arrington
LURAY, Sept. 10 — A few hours after Page County Public Schools opened up its doors for the 2020-21 school year on Thursday, the division announced its second case of COVID-19 in the past week.
“Our school division is informing parents and guardians that a student or staff member at Stanley Elementary has been diagnosed with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19),” reads a Sept. 10 letter by the division posted on its website. “This person was NOT on school premises recently or for at least [two] days prior to noticing symptoms. This person DID NOT have direct exposure (within 6 feet for 15 minutes) with other members of the school community.”
Stanley Elementary will remain open, according to school officials, just as Shenandoah Elementary did after a case of COVID-19 was announced there at the end of last week.
“We are working closely with the Virginia Department of Health to identify anyone else who had close contact with the person [at Stanley Elementary] to determine if they might have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19,” the Sept. 10 letter from the school division reads. “If you or your child has been identified as having been potentially exposed, the Virginia Department of Health will contact you to ask that you please stay home and monitor your symptoms since your last contact for 14 days. If you are not contacted by the health department, you do not need to stay home or exclude yourself from activities at this time.”
Nearly 3,200 students in Page County Public Schools began the new school year on Thursday, with the majority not entering school buildings and learning through remote-only instruction. High school students were mandated to remote-only learning after adjustments were made in August to the school division’s “Return to Learn” plan first unveiled in July. Middle and elementary students are mixed between families who opted for remote-only learning or in-class instruction two days a week.
Page Schools are conducting temperature checks and requiring signed health check reports from home before allowing students to enter school buildings.
“Parents should continue to monitor their child’s health and the health of their families for COVID-19 symptoms,” the local school system’s letter advises. “Children with COVID-19 generally have mild, cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported in some children. Children with certain underlying medical
conditions, such as chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, serious heart conditions, or weak immune systems, might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Contact your child’s healthcare provider
regarding any concerns.”
“If your child has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, please report this to your school. This information will be kept confidential,” the letter continues. “Schools continue to utilize Center for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC) recommendations on Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, to reduce viral transmission and keep our children and school personnel healthy and safe.”
The Virginia Department of Health has not reported a single case of COVID-19 in Page County for the last four days, and only five cases in the month of September. With 154 tests administered for COVID-19 among county residents in September and only five positive cases reported, that leaves Page County with a 10-day positivity rate of 3.2 percent.
Currently, Virginia has a seven-day positivity rate of 7.6 percent. Statewide, 1,236 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Thursday, along with 77 new hospitalizations and 11 deaths. Virginia has reported 128 deaths due to the pandemic in September, and 2,708 since March 14.
The Virginia Department of Health provides information about COVID-19 and frequently asked questions (FAQ) from parents and concerned family members. The CDC offers tips to keep children healthy during this time. The
Virginia Department of Education’s produced COVID-19: A Parent Guide for School Age Children and provides additional considerations for students with disabilities, guidance for military families and social emotional wellness for parents and caregivers.
Click HERE to see the full Sept. 10 letter posted by Page County Public Schools.