Local elementary school closing for two weeks after 5 staff members test positive for COVID-19

Local elementary school closing for two weeks after 5 staff members test positive for COVID-19

WESTMORELAND CO., Pa. — Just three days after officials with the Penn-Trafford School District said one of its elementary schools would be closed for five days because three staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, two more have the virus.

That prompted Level Green Elementary to shut down for the next 14 days.

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In a message sent to parents Saturday, the superintendent said these five positive cases caused the district to reevaluate its previous plan. Students will learn remotely during the closure, something not all parents agree with.

“I think it’s more disruptive to the kids to sit at home, not interact with their friends, and not learn. I think these are key years for their growth and I think it’s really impacting them by not being in school. I think that’s a far greater risk than their health concerns to be honest," said Dominic Bergamasco.

However, the district said it has an obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all members of the community -- not just the schools.

Another elementary school in the same district -- Sunrise Elementary -- is closed due to a staff member testing positive for COVID-19, but it is set to reopen Monday.

It’s unclear if these recent cases will be addressed in the school board meeting Monday night.

You can read the full letter to parents below:

“The Penn-Trafford School District now has two additional staff members at Level Green Elementary School who have tested positive for COVID-19. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases at Level Green to five within a 14 day period. As of today, all positive COVID-19 cases within the district have been confined to staff. No positive student cases have been reported. Level Green Elementary School will now be closed for 14 days per the Pennsylvania Department of Education guidelines. We are still waiting for the exact reopening date from the Department of Education and the Department of Health. During this time all students will receive remote instruction. The principal will send further directions to parents and students regarding online assignments. We will be closely monitoring this situation and following all directions provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Please note that while we have an obligation to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of all members of our community, we also have an obligation to protect the privacy of individuals affected by this virus. Only “close contacts” are required to be quarantined. The PA Department of Health defines a “close contact” as an individual who was within six feet of a positive case of COVID-19 for a duration of longer than fifteen consecutive minutes. Unless an individual has been personally contacted by the Department of Health or the School Nurse we can reasonably assure you that you have not been identified as a “close contact” of a positive case. The only individuals who need to quarantine are those who have been personally contacted by the Department of Health or the school nurse. It is important for students and staff to administer the PTSD Symptom Screening Tool every day. If you are symptomatic or may have been in close contact with a positive case you need to stay home and contact the school nurse immediately. Your cooperation with sharing information with our nurses and reporting any positive cases of COVID-19 within your family or close contacts is very important.”

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