As Gov. Mifflin High School began its second week of classes Tuesday, Sept. 8, district officials announced a student and staff member had each tested positive for COVID-19.
The positive tests were reported to families in the school district in a message from Dr. Steve Gerhard, superintendent.
The district has begun the new school year with students in grades seven through 12 spending half of each day learning in-person inside school buildings and half learning virtually. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade are having their lessons fully in-person.
Gerhard said in his message that the COVID-19 cases at the high school are not related. He added that proper procedures are being followed, including notifying those who may have been in contact with the infected individuals and instructing them to quarantine.
According to Gerhard's message:
The student who tested positive attended the morning session of classes at the high school on Aug. 31, the first day of school for the district. The student had attended a gathering the previous weekend.
When the student returned home from school, the student began to develop symptoms of COVID-19. The student did not return to school after the symptoms began.
The student was tested for COVID-19 and was notified of a positive result Sept. 8.
Individuals who will need to quarantine because of close contact with the student have been notified.
The student did not use district transportation and is not involved in any sports or extracurricular activities.
The district was also made aware of a staff member at the high school who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member was immediately sent home.
The employee was and continues to be asymptomatic, but received a positive COVID-19 test result Sept. 8.
No students were required to quarantine because the staff member was not in close contact with any students. Students in the staff member's class were notified by the district, however.
Gerhard said district officials understand that the positive COVID-19 tests are not the news families want to hear so early in the school year, but noted that in both cases the initial exposure happened outside of school buildings.
Gerhard also said the state Department of Health has supported the district's reaction to the cases based on the district's cleaning and masking protocols.
"Student and staff safety continues to be our utmost priority, and we know that additional cases could force changes to portions of or all of our in-person learning options," Gerhard wrote.
Gerhard said the district will continue to follow the procedures and protocols in its COVID-19 health and safety plan, adding that the plan only works if everyone does their part.
"If students or staff find themselves in a position where they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and need to take a test, the time to notify your school nurse or building principal is at the time the test is requested and not after results are received," he wrote. "If a student is exhibiting any symptoms of illness, that student should not come to school. If students are asymptomatic or feeling well enough, they can still continue with classwork remotely to avoid falling behind when they are not able to attend school in person."