Bus driver, individual in high school ‘community’ confirmed to have coronavirus

Two local school districts announced positive COVID-19 cases on Monday, with officials urging proper precautions to be taken by all.

A school bus driver whose route is in Charlton has tested positive according to Dudley-Charlton Regional School Superintendent Steven Lamarche. In Oxford, “a person in our Oxford High School community has tested positive for COVID-19,” according to a joint statement released to parents and guardians by interim superintendent Kristine Nash and high school principal David Nugent. The identities of the individuals were not released to protect the privacy of the patients.

In both public school districts, officials are employing procedures developed to deal with the possibility of positive tests of the coronavirus.

“We have been preparing for this type of scenario and it is my hope that our Dudley-Charlton community is prepared as well,” wrote Lamarche in a letter to parents.

While Lamarche was able to confirm the bus driver, employed by First Student, was not behind the wheel for their bus route in Charlton on Monday, he cited “privacy mandates set forth in HIPPA” as a reason not to publicly release the affected bus number.

“Please note that First Student has taken precautions to ensure mitigating strategies are followed,” Lamarche said. “The drivers wear masks and the buses are cleaned between runs and disinfected nightly. The drivers continue to introduce natural air through roof vents and some open windows. All students are required to wear a mask while riding the bus.”

Oxford officials also stressed they have plans in place for such a positive test confirmation.

“We have been preparing for this scenario and have developed a comprehensive response plan as our first responsibility is to ensure the safety and well-being of all students and staff,” Nash and Nugent said in their statement.

The identity and role of the confirmed case in Oxford was not revealed beyond being described as a member of the school “community.” In their public statement to parents and guardians, officials said children were not close contacts of the affected individual.

In both cases, municipal health and school officials are working together as part of the response. Proper precautions continue to be encouraged by officials in both school districts, while also encouraging families and staff to keep an eye out for potential symptoms.

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