Less than two weeks into the school year for Abington Public Schools, the novel coronavirus has already found its way into one of the town's elementary schools.
Someone at Beaver Brook Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Abington Superintendent Peter Schafer, though he would not say whether the individual is a student, teacher or other staff member.
In an email to parents over the weekend, Schafer said parents of students who were in close contact with the community member have been notified privately by the Abington Health Director.
"If you have not been notified your child was not a close contact (defined as being within 6 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes) of the affected school member," Schafer wrote in his email.
The superintendent says they are following all Department of Health protocols, including collaborating with the Abington Health Director to complete contact tracing.
"Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe," he said.
Although all classrooms, offices and school spaces are sanitized daily and nightly, Schafer said they have a plan in place for additional sanitizing.
Schafer says they will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place.
"Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for the continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms," he said in his email. "These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of transmission."
New England Schools and the Coronavirus
Parent Ana Barbosa has six kids in elementary school but says they are all doing remote learning for now.
“I think they need to get that under control first before they can allow kids to go back into school,” Barbosa said. "As a parent, I want my kids to be safe, you know? Especially with health conditions and stuff like that."
Barbosa says while it may not be the easiest option, it's about children's safety.
"It’s going to be tiring, but, you know, we’re going to have to do it if we want the safety of our children,” she said.
Meanwhile, Schafer says they are committed to continuous communication with and support of the district's families.