Nineteen students at Animas Valley Elementary began a quarantine Thursday after a potential exposure to a person displaying symptoms of COVID-19.
Because of the severity of the symptoms the individual was exhibiting, the cohort will go into a quarantine, said Julie Popp, spokeswoman with Durango School District 9-R.
Students will continue in quarantine until the test from the person comes back negative. If the test comes back positive, the students will quarantine for 14 days to ensure none of them displays symptoms of the virus. Symptoms can begin as long as 14 days after exposure.
9-R is not releasing details about the individual suspected of contracting COVID-19 to protect the person’s anonymity.
Popp said the grade level of the cohort that went into quarantine will not be revealed, again to protect the anonymity of the individual who may have contracted COVID-19.
The district notified families of the 19 students in the cohort separately from a notification that went out to all parents in the district. The district’s policy is to be transparent about potential COVID-19 cases within its boundaries, and it will notify all 9-R parents if any cohort in the district begins a quarantine for a potential exposure to COVID-19.
On Wednesday evening, Popp said she was unsure if the individual exhibiting symptoms had been tested yet. But if the person is associated with 9-R, which is likely, he or she most likely will be administered a nasal swab test by Cedar Diagnostics, a Durango medical laboratory.
9-R expects to get results back from Cedar Diagnostics nasal swabs in two to three days, Popp said.
The district is working with San Juan Basin Public Health and implementing its response plan created to deal with a suspected exposure to the novel coronavirus by students.
This school year, students are divided into self-contained groups, called cohorts, that go through the school day together and don’t mix with other students. Cohorts were created to limit the number of person-to-person contacts students have during the day.
The district also asks all students and families to follow the district “3 W’s,” wash your hands, wear a mask and watch your distance.