DCRSD: ‘evidence of transmission’ of COVID-19 at elementary school

Lamarche says ‘no evidence of transmission to students’ at CES

CHARLTON — Local health officials have determined there has been in-school transmission of COVID-19 in one elementary school, though school officials report there has not been transmission of the virus to students.

Dudley-Charlton Regional School Superintendent Steven Lamarche notified parents in an e-mail on Wednesday evening of the findings, more confirmed cases of the virus, and changes to services at Charlton Elementary School.

“Through consultation with our local Health Director and Health Agent it was determined that we have evidence of transmission in the Charlton Elementary School.  The identifiable evidence shows transmission amongst adults in the school,” Lamarche wrote. “We have no evidence of transmission to students. We also consulted with the Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at the Department of Public Health and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to review our findings and next steps.”

As the number of cases throughout the area continue to climb, and with the findings of transmission of the virus within the elementary school, Lamarche announced a temporary shift in that building to a remote learning model. Students at Charlton Elementary School will have remote classes on Thursday and Friday, the superintendent reported.

In a subsequent email notification from Charlton Elementary School principal Lori Pacheco, it was noted that “Students who typically attend school in person (cohorts B, C and D) on Thursdays and Fridays will learn remotely with their teachers,” while those “who are in Cohort A will continue with no change to their schedule.” Students whose schedule has been impacted would be contacted by their teachers with further information, Pacheco said.

In an effort to help identify potential cases of COVID-19, free testing for the virus is being offered to staff members.

“Through the efforts of the Charlton Health Director working with Harrington Hospital, starting tomorrow, we are providing free COVID testing for any employee in the Charlton Elementary School,” Lamarche said.

In addition to moving classes to a remote learning model, food services at the elementary school have also been impacted. Lamarche said all Charlton Elementary School food distribution for the remainder of this week will be moved to the Heritage School.

The superintendent also confirmed there were two new positive COVID-19 cases within the school district today, neither of which is connected to Charlton Elementary School.

As testing continues and the local fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic develops, local health and school officials remain in contact.

“We will meet daily with the Health Director and Health Agent to monitor current cases, evidence of transmission, and more forthcoming information with a focus on the current situation at the Charlton Elementary School,” Lamarche noted. “Any additional, needed changes will be communicated no later than Sunday, January 24, 2021.”

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