Three Hanford Dole Elementary staff positive for COVID-19

Published 3:48 pm Friday, August 21, 2020

SALISBURY — Two Hanford-Dole Elementary School staff members tested for positive COVID-19 while quarantined due to contact with another staffer who tested positive before classes began, states a letter to families.

Parents were first notified of the original infection on Sunday via a letter from Hanford Dole principal Jessica Rivas. The letter says the entire school was sanitized several times after the staff member was last in the building. Classes began the next day.

The letter said all those who qualified as exposed were notified after working with the Rowan County Health Department to perform contact tracing. Another letter to families dated Wednesday reiterated the same points and offered some reassurances.

“I know this is a different year for all of us,” the letter states. “I can assure you that we are working hard to stay informed and keep you informed as we put into practice new ways of doing our day to day operations while following the guidance of our local health officials. We are very grateful for their commitment, care and support as we look forward to a great new school year.”

A third letter, dated Thursday, notified families of the new positive tests among quarantined staff, and said the cases will not impact the school’s instruction.

Rowan County Emergency Management Division Chief T.J. Brown confirmed the number of cases does not rise to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services standard for a COVID-19 cluster, which is five cases in one educational facility that can be connected to one another.

As of Friday morning, there were 2,477 COVID-19 positives in Rowan County and 325 considered active cases.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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