An individual being evaluated for COVID-19 has had contact with one cohort of students at Animas Valley Elementary School, setting off an effort by the school district and public health department to notify people who have had close contacts with the person.
Julie Popp, spokeswoman for Durango School District 9-R, said exposure was limited to one cohort of 16 students at Animas Valley and no other cohorts at the school or other schools are affected.
The one affected cohort are fifth graders, and they will move to 9-R’s remote learning model, where classes are offered to students at home, largely online.
A cohort is a group of students who stay together throughout the school day to minimize personal contacts students have during the day.
9-R contacted families of students in the cohort at Animas Valley individually, and it sent out a letter notifying all the district’s families about the possible exposure.
Popp said the district wanted all families at the school and in the district to be aware of the situation. Animas Valley remains open for in-person and hybrid learning for the unaffected cohorts.
Hybrid learning is a blended learning model with students spending three days at home involved in remote learning and two days at school receiving in-person instruction from classroom teachers.
Popp said the school and the district are working with San Juan Basin Public Health to notify appropriate individuals who may have had close contact with the person in question and to take the next steps in contact tracing when that is judged to be appropriate.
The person in question at Animas Valley tested inconclusively for COVID-19 and follow-up tests are in progress, Popp said.
The individual’s privacy is protected by law, but those students, teachers and staff members at Animas Valley who were in direct contact with the person in question have been contacted.
“We are in contact with the SJBPH team, and are implementing our response plan that was created in the event of this scenario. As per our normal procedures, all areas have been disinfected since students and staff have occupied the area,” Popp said in a news release issued Monday evening.
The district emphasizes the “Three W’s” in minimizing spread of the novel coronavirus – wear a mask, wash your hands and watch your distance.
The district also urges anyone, student or adult, who is feeling ill to stay at home.
Last week, three cohorts at Durango High School returned to school after an individual who had tested inconclusive was determined not to have COVID-19.
Fifteen students, one cohort, at Florida Mesa Elementary are set to return to school Wednesday after a 14-day quarantine after one student in the cohort tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 2.
[email protected] This story has been updated to note the cohort that is in quarantine is a fifth grade cohort, not a sixth grade one.