After months of no interaction with anyone, the idea of going back to school was oddly compelling. However, that can be stripped away just as quickly as it was granted because as the COVID-19 school year begins, so can the spread of the virus.
On Aug. 10, the first Coronavirus case in GHS emerged, and although the student cannot be named, the event is still undoubtedly monumental in school history. The precautions that the school has taken to contain any and all spread of this is serious. According to Mr. Josh Harmon, the school nurse, the only people who need to know who the infected student is are the ones who were in direct contact with him or her so that they are able to quarantine themselves from those that are unexposed.
“All students involved with potential exposure have been notified. The nursing staff, along with the attendance secretary, would start contact tracing immediately upon confirming a positive result. We would then obtain the student’s schedule and seating charts for those classes. The nursing staff will verify students who were within 6 feet of the student for 15 minutes or longer. We would contact the parents to inform them of the situation while sending passes to potentially exposed students. The students would be sent home that day. They would remain home for 14 days from the last date of exposure to the student who tested positive,” Mr. Harmon said.
Principal Todd Garrison said that the student who tested positive for COVID-19 only came to school for one day before symptoms began. He also said that the school was able to identify that he or she was displaying symptoms early enough for the school to send him or her home before the second half of the day.
“The student last attended classes on the morning of Aug. 6, the district’s first day of student attendance. This should be taken as a reminder to all of the families that students should not attend school if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in their home, if their student has pending test results of a COVID-19 test, or if their student is showing any symptoms of COVID-19,” Mr. Garrison said.
Mr. Harmon said that everyone should know all of the symptoms of the virus so that if needed, they can isolate from others to prevent it from spreading through the school. He also said that once a student has a suspicion of having the virus, he should contact all the people he has been in close contact with to let them know they should get tested as well.
“Students should not come to school with COVID related symptoms, which include: fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, chills, headache, a new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or nasal drainage, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. However, if a student comes to school with these symptoms, he or she will be sent home after being evaluated by the school nurse. The school nurse will inform the student of the return to school policy relating to the individual case as directed by the Indiana State Department of Health. The school then confirms the test results with the local health department, and if positive, they would then begin the contact tracing procedures,” Mr. Harmon said.