RICHMOND — Richmond Elementary School students moved to an all-distance learning format Monday after an individual at the school tested positive for COVID-19. The school district will not disclose whether the person is a student or a member of the staff.
This is the first confirmed positive case in the Chariho School District. Superintendent of Schools Gina Picard said she had learned Sunday evening of the positive test.
“I got an email last night from the administrator,” she said, referring to Principal Sharon Martin. “The health department is supposed to start contact tracing today. This is our first in-person case.”
Picard sent an email to Richmond school families advising them of the positive test result.
“The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) confirmed that a person at Richmond Elementary School tested positive for COVID-19. The DOH has informed us that they would begin contact tracing 10/26/2020. Out of an abundance of caution we will be moving to Distance Learning for all staff and students at Richmond for October 26th,” the message reads in part. Picard was notified by the department of health on Monday afternoon that only one class would not be able to return to in-person learning on Tuesday. Those believed to have been exposed to the virus are being asked to remain home Tuesday and the department of health will determine whether they need to quarantine. In-person learning will resume Tuesday for all other classes.
“Students and staff that need to remain home will be notified by the principal via email and phone call and they must remain home until they receive further guidance from the Department of Health,” Picard said.
Martin said she had been notified late Monday morning that the health department had begun contact tracing. She also noted that she had gathered information that might help with the investigation.
“What I’ve done is compile a document of the setting, the contact names, the phone number of every single person I can think of that could potentially be a contact ... I know exactly who the contacts are and then it’s up to the state to determine what would be considered a close contact.”
Picard asked that anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms stay home from school and contact their health care provider.