Covid Update: Confirmed case impacts preschool; Algonquin asking teens to take more precautions outside of school

by beth on October 20, 2020

Post image for Covid Update: Confirmed case impacts preschool; Algonquin asking teens to take more precautions outside of school

Above: The school’s health data for October 15-19 was posted last night. (image from District Dashboard)

The latest NSBORO Covid-19 Dashboard indicates that one person linked to the district preschool has been confirmed infected. It is one of six active cases for the district, with only one of a remote participant.

In Southborough, the Town posted one more positive case as of this morning. That brings the total to 73 for Southborough. Nine were confirmed in the past two weeks, but only six are considered still active. (Click image below for my updated graph.)

Oct 18 morning - Covid in Southborough

The schools’ semi-weekly Dashboard updates are snapshot in time sharing data for the last 4-5 days. During the period October 15 – 19, approx 40 students/staff across the district were quarantined due to in-school contact. Meanwhile, approx 35 students/staff were quarantined due to contact not deemed in-school. 

The data doesn’t clarify which cases are new versus continuing isolations and quarantines, but some upticks are clear.

One of those upticks is the number of quarantined high school cases not linked to in-school contact. Yesterday, Algonquin Principal Sean Bevan asked for the community to take student precautions outside of school seriously. Bevan’s message to parents following up on a confirmed case in the school states:

Through contact tracing and conversations with students and families over the weekend, we are finding that students are participating in a variety of activities outside of school that increase their risk of contracting COVID-19. These activities include: sitting in cars together, having sleepovers, and participating in other forms of socializing with little or no regard for social distancing or mask wearing.

I am confident that the steps we are taking in school to keep students and staff safe are working. We put a great deal of time and effort into our plans, and we have been thrilled to have students return to school in person these past two weeks. However, these plans do little to protect our community if our students ignore these expectations outside of school.

I am writing to implore you to redouble your efforts to monitor your child’s behaviors outside of school. Please be sure that they understand your expectations and that the consequences for ignoring those expectations could be dangerous and have already jeopardized our ability to continue to have school in-person.

In some of my communications to you and to students, I have noted, “A healthy school is a school that can stay open.” I am writing to ask for your help in reinforcing that message, noting that we each play a part in keeping the members of our community healthy and, in turn, keeping our school open for the in-person classes we all have so enjoyed these past two weeks.

Leading up to that, Bevan’s message also noted that some quarantines were the result of positive rapid tests, which could be false positives:

several students not identified as close contacts to the reported case independently had rapid Antigen tests, and some of those students have reported to us that they have tested positive and will be quarantined. We have advised these students to have PCR testing.

The rapid Antigen test can be unreliable and is known to deliver many false positives as well as false negatives. As a result, anyone who receives a positive result from the rapid Antigen test is required to have PCR testing and is quarantined as they await these results. If the PCR testing identifies a positive COVID-19 case, the Board of Health will notify the District and in partnership conduct contact tracing. If a family seeks testing, the child must remain home while awaiting the results.

Meanwhile, Algonquin cancelled all Athletics activities temporarily yesterday. Athletic practices and competitions resume today but with the following notice: 

Team gatherings are not permitted outside of school which includes but not limited to team social events on or off-campus, pasta dinners, pizza parties, team outings at an off-campus location, etc. 

The District’s Dashboard data and more Southborough data are below:

 

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