A Greenfield, Indiana student tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the first day of classes at Greenfield Central Junior High School on Thursday. School officials said the student was quarantined in an isolated area inside the school's clinic and they are tracing the student's schedule to determine which students and staff could have come in close contact with the student. Separately, a New Palestine High School football player tested positive on Thursday, but the district is still beginning classes on Monday.
The Greenfield student attended part of the first day of school, school officials said in an email to parents, reports Fox59. After they learned of the student's test results, they launched the new "Positive COVID-19 Test Protocol," which involved isolating the student and tracking his schedule to see which students and staff could have come within six feet of the student. Parents with children who did come in close contact with the student also received phone calls from the Hancock County Health Department or a junior high school nurse. All schools are being disinfected each evening.
The Greenfield Central Junior High School also advised parents not to send their children to school if they have come in direct contact with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 in the past two weeks or told by a health care professional to quarantine. A student should also not attend if they show symptoms of COVID-19, which include a high temperature, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, headache, chills, muscle pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. A student waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test should also not attend.
“We understand that this information will cause concern for some of you,” Superintendent Dr. Harold E. Olin said in a statement. “It was very evident today that nearly all of our families and students were prepared to properly follow the safety protocols we have established. We thank you for your continued cooperation with our request for daily self-screening. Adhering to these protocols is essential for maintaining a safe environment for all students and staff.”
Meanwhile in New Palestine, a football player tested positive for coronavirus, Wes Anderson, director of school and community relations for Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County, told the Indy Star. Anderson said the district will still begin classes on Monday as planned because officials disinfected and sanitized the athletic areas when they learned the student showed symptoms of the coronavirus. The players who trained with the player who tested positive have all quarantined.
These cases have come while schools across the country struggle to find ways to reopen under the pressure of the federal government, even as the coronavirus continues to spread. On Saturday, Indiana health officials reported 989 new cases and six more deaths from the virus. The state has reported 67,122 cases and 2,771 deaths since the pandemic began. The state's total positivity rate is 8.8% and was 7.1% over the past seven days. Nationally, there are more than 4.6 million coronavirus cases and over 154,000 deaths since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University data.