Three Smyrna School District teachers test positive for COVID

SMYRNA — Three educators have tested positive for COVID-19 in the Smyrna School District, and 13 others are quarantining out of caution, Superintendent Patrik Williams said.

The three educators have tested positive since the beginning of the school year, Sept. 8. Another employee tested positive, but is no longer employed in the district, Mr. Williams said.

The employees quarantining were in contact with one of those three educators who tested positive, but masks and social distancing were in place, he said.

“Even though (the Delaware Division of Public Health) and state guidelines do not mandate quarantining for anyone who comes into contact with a positive individual, as long as masks and social distancing are firmly in place, we are currently exceeding this guidance, so that anxious staff are relieved,” he said. “They are able to continue teaching virtually from home, in lieu of their classrooms.”

Mr. Williams said the staff are alerted at the schools impacted by positive cases “through in-person, face (mask)-to-face (mask) notification with social distancing in place.”

“Mrs. (Deborah) Judy (assistant superintendent), the building administrators and our lead nurse, along with the building nurse, meet with staff outside and explain the circumstances, withholding, of course, any individual identities,” he said. “We also remain on site answering individual questions until each person has had a chance to follow up individually. We alert the district through electronic communications, so that unsubstantiated rumors don’t spread.”

The district will start bringing some students back for hybrid instruction Oct. 5. Hybrid learning will be phased in, beginning with students in kindergarten through grade three next week, while pre-K and grades four through 12 remain virtual until later this fall.

Testing sites will be available this week at two different sites in the district. Tuesday, from 2-7 p.m., the community can participate in testing at Smyrna Middle School. Testing will also be offered Wednesday from 2-7 p.m. at Smyrna Elementary School.

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As of Friday’s report, a total of 44 positive cases involving students and staff statewide were reported to the Division of Public Health. The cases involve those who were in person at a school or child care facility while potentially infectious.

In child care facilities, there were 16 students and staff; in private schools, kindergarten through grade 12, there were 15 students and staff with positive COVID-19 tests; and in public schools in kindergarten through 12, 13 students and staff were reported.

The state will likely continue to report positive cases in schools weekly, a spokeswoman said.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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