A Morgantown High School employee who has tested positive for the coronavirus didn’t have contact with a group of special-needs students in the building for one-on-one instruction, the district said.
Mon Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell Jr. said the employee notified the district over the weekend of his results, and immediately went into self-quarantine.
The employee wasn’t in the building Monday when the above group returned to school for the first time in six months.
Around 75 students with cognitive and physical issues are currently receiving instruction in 17 of the 18 schools in the district, as their impairments are considered too pronounced for remote learning required of the district with its current showing of red on the state’s County Alert Map.
Campbell said the employee, meanwhile, had come into contact with another person who had also tested positive and was no longer asymptomatic.
The MHS employee is also now showing COVID-19 symptoms, the superintendent said.
Five other colleagues who also had contact with the employee are now quarantining for 14 days as well, Campbell said.
He wouldn’t say if the six are teachers or other staffers.
As of Tuesday, a total of 1,745 cases in Mon have been reported by the state Department of Health and Human Resources, counting the 30 picked up from the day before.
News of the positive case comes on heels of the letter the Faculty Senate of Morgantown High delivered to the Board of Education expressing no confidence in the county’s re-entry plan, which calls for an alternating schedule of in-person learning and remote instruction, provided the pandemic lets up.
Campbell, though, said at least the district’s protocols are working. The district, he said, has teamed with the county health department since the closure last March to set the response policy and procedure.
And the employee in question, the superintendent added, didn’t have to be told what to do: He notified the district and the county health department to immediately quarantine, even before his test results were known.
And the maintenance staff known unofficially as the “COVID-Killer Cleaning Crew” swooped in to disinfect the entire building, he said.
But, what about the pandemic-inevitable? What about the positive cases likely to follow in other schools?
Campbell said the same protocols would be followed – with the consideration of how many other employees, such as with the five at MHS, were to be exposed through a single employee testing positive.
Mon’s re-entry plan, the superintendent said, in conjunction to the West Virginia Department of Education’s statewide document, has a platform of responses – with responses, to the responses.
“We can isolate classrooms or whole buildings, if we have to,” he said.
“We can isolate multiple buildings, if we have to. “We’re going to do everything, and beyond, to make sure everyone’s safe. That’s our job.”