On the heels of the Greenfield Exempted Village Schools reporting their first COVID-19 case, the Fayette Christian School in nearby Washington C.H. closed Monday and will remain closed through at least next week due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
According to Fayette County Public Health (FCPH), as of Thursday seven staff members and two students had tested positive with more tests pending. FCPH is currently conducting contact tracing for the cases that have been identified.
“The school had already closed as of Monday, September 28th, and will remain closed until cleared by FCPH,” said FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon. “We are contacting all students and staff to instruct them of the quarantine process. Unfortunately, we are encountering difficulties with contact tracing due to the nature of the classroom setting, combining of grades, and close contact within the building.”
Individuals who have been identified as a confirmed or probable positive case of COVID-19 are isolated per the protocol established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Close contacts with known exposure to a case of COVID-19 are asked to quarantine for 14 days.
A close contact is a person who was within six feet of someone who has confirmed or suspected COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes, starting from two days before illness onset until the time the patient is isolated.
Cannon said, “The sooner we can identify and notify those who may have been exposed, the sooner we can stop the spread. If you are a close contact and begin showing symptoms of COVID-19, we ask that you consult with your primary care physician or go to the nearest urgent care for evaluation and testing. Our office is available to answer questions as well.”
According to a statement from Fayette Christian, the school became aware on Monday that teachers had tested positive.
“Fortunately, out of abundance of caution, the school board had already closed school on Monday, September 28 due to the fact that we had a number of teachers absent due to flu like symptoms,” the statement said. “School was scheduled to be closed for students on October 1 and 2 due to a previously scheduled in-service training for teachers. Those in-service trainings have been postponed.
“The school administration notified Fayette County Public Health and has directed all teachers and other staff to cooperate fully in all efforts by FCPH to conduct contact tracing. All Fayette Christian staff members have or will be tested for COVID-19. Unfortunately, other teachers and a few students have also tested positive. The school will remain closed next week. The school will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected and will not resume in-person classes until authorized or as directed by FCPH.”
Prior to the outbreak, Fayette Christian officials said the school had put into place protocols for social distancing, regular disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, mask use and temperature screening when staff and students arrive each day. Parents have also been notified of the outbreak and the school is asking that all individuals fully cooperate with FCPH’s efforts at contact tracing.
“Fayette Christian School intends to fully cooperate with FCPH and to take all necessary steps for further prevention when the school reopens,” the statement said. “Please direct any inquiries to Tony Garren, 740-335-7495, firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Cannon added, “We have seen first-hand this week how quickly this virus can spread in a short amount of time. Please continue to practice good hand hygiene, wear a mask while in public spaces, social distance whenever possible and also keep long term exposure with non-household members to a minimum.”
According to the CDC, a person with COVID-19 can experience a range of symptoms from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus and include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
Call 911 or seek emergency medical care immediately if you are experiencing the following: trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.