SALEM, N.H. — Two Salem students tested positive for COVID-19 Monday — one at Woodbury School and one at Fisk Elementary School, Superintendent Michael Delahanty said.
The Woodbury student was in class Monday while awaiting results from a test taken Friday. As a result, about a dozen students were contacted by district officials and asked to quarantine for 14 days, Delahanty said.
The Fisk student who tested positive hadn't been in class for about a week and no close contacts need to quarantine, the superintendent said.
The district had not been aware the student at Woodbury was being tested after exposure to the virus by a family member, Delahanty said.
He said the district had not specifically instructed parents to keep children home if they were awaiting test results.
This week Delahanty will send a districtwide email asking for just that: for students to be kept home if they have been tested until results are available.
"Every day there seems to be a lesson learned," he said.
This comes about 10 days after the School Board put in effect a policy in which students and staff who travel to high-risk areas or travel by public transportation have to quarantine for 14 days upon return.
"It's inconvenient," Delahanty acknowledged. "But it's much better to see the end of that 14-day window when your child can return back to school instead of having the whole district shut down."
There will be a deep cleaning at Woodbury School and students, aside from those asked to quarantine, are expected to return Tuesday morning, Delahanty said.
Overall the district has had six students — four at the high school, one at Woodbury and one at Fisk — and one teacher test positive for COVID-19. All were initially exposed outside of school, Delahanty said.
"We've argued to the state that our masks and acrylic shields are good at protecting students," Delahanty said. "From our 67 students who needed to quarantine at the high school from four different cases, they all came back without showing symptoms."
A close contact is a person who has been within 6 feet of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and for that contact to last more than 10 minutes, Delahanty said.
The School District reaches out to families of close contacts it identifies, he explained.
"We are not seeing transmission in the school, we are seeing it in the community," Delahanty said. "We need to take personal responsibility to minimize transmission in the community."
Salem currently has 33 active cases of COVID-19, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
There have been 389 total cases in town since the start of the pandemic, according to DHHS.
Cases in the district have occurred because of travel to higher-risk areas and social gatherings, he said. He asks that people wear masks and keep gatherings to small numbers.
Delahanty plans to keep the community informed about every student and staff member who tests positive, he said.
He had not publicly released that a support staff member from North Salem Elementary tested positive previously. The staff member had no contact with students and teachers in the school were told.
He will be changing that notification process, he said.