A student at Florida Mesa Elementary has tested positive for COVID-19, and the student and classmates have begun a 14-day self-quarantine.
The student was placed in an isolation room Tuesday after a teacher noticed the student was exhibiting symptoms. The student’s parents were asked to pick up their child, said district spokeswoman Julie Popp.
The student saw a primary caregiver later Tuesday and was tested for COVID-19 by Cedar Diagnostics of Durango on Wednesday. The test was confirmed positive Friday. San Juan Basin Health Department was notified Saturday and began contact tracing Sunday.
Brian Devine, interim environmental health director with San Juan Basin Public Health, said none of the student’s primary contacts have shown symptoms of COVID-19.
All primary contacts of the student will be tested Tuesday, seven days after potential exposure. If any contact shows symptoms before Tuesday, they will be tested immediately, Devine said.
“The measures 9-R took really paid off,” Devine said. “The case was identified and contained to the student’s classmates. The measures 9-R has taken, keeping students within their cohorts, have prevented us from having to quarantine a whole grade level or the whole school.”
To prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak, Durango School District 9-R had created isolations rooms at each school.
As of Sunday, the student’s primary contacts have been notified, and most were checked by evening, Devine said. No primary contact exhibited symptoms.
Contact tracing would expand if a primary contact exhibited symptoms in the next 14 days.
Primary contacts include the student’s classmates, 9-R staff who had contact with the student and the student’s immediate family, Devine said.
Popp said quarantined students will continue remote, at-home and online learning during the isolation period.
The quarantine will end Sept. 16.
Popp said as of Sunday, 9-R has been told by San Juan Basin Public Health that no other cohorts at Florida Mesa or other 9-R schools needed to be quarantined, but that could change through Sept. 16 if the student’s primary contacts exhibited symptoms.
Popp was unsure whether the teacher isolated the student in the morning, upon arrival to school or later Tuesday. She also did not know what symptoms the student showed.
Major symptoms of COVID-19 are coughing, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever and chills. Minor symptoms are include fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, a loss of taste or smell, congestion, runny nose, nausea and vomiting and diarrhea.
Popp said Sunday all areas at Florida Mesa have been disinfected.
To minimize the spread of COVID-19, 9-R is emphasizing “the 3 W’s” – wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.
Florida Mesa Elementary remains open for in-person and blended learning for unaffected cohorts, Popp said.
Popp added it was critical for all families to monitor the health of household members and make sure anyone who feels ill stays home.
9-R’s procedures in dealing with COVID-19 positive students are detailed in its 9-R Process Map for Symptomatic Cases.
Popp reminded students and households to socially distance and abide by the state order to wear a face mask start as students and families contact one another.
“The whole community must remain vigilant and highly disciplined so that we can keep our schools and our economy safe and open as COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community,” Popp said.