Tyngsborough Elementary School returned to remote-only learning this week after suspected in-school transmission of the coronavirus, resulting in a cluster of positive cases, superintendent Michael Flanagan told the district last week.
The closure comes just a week before all elementary schools in Massachusetts are set to return to full-time, in-person learning on Monday, a mandate from state education officials. Tyngsborough Elementary School has already had students learning in person full time, and if it’s safe to bring students back next week, they will have students continue that model, Flanagan said.
Remote instruction will continue through at least Friday.
“I want to remind everyone that this virus is still very active,” Flanagan wrote in a note to the district on Friday. “While we are doing our best to take every precaution in our schools, we all have a collective responsibility to limit the spread of COVID-19 by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, washing hands, staying home when sick, and limiting social gatherings.”
District officials first learned on March 24 that an elementary school student had close contact with someone who had tested positive for the coronavirus, “confirming a suspected in-school transmission,” Flanagan wrote. The student’s class was immediately shut down; all students and staff in the class were sent home and have not yet returned in person.
Later that week, on Thursday, district leaders learned that other elementary school students tested positive for the virus, “confirming this class to be a ‘cluster’ as defined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.” The district did not say how many students in total tested positive.
Officials decided Friday to physically close the elementary school “given the number of students and staff who have tested positive, been identified as a close contact, or are currently symptomatic.”
In a follow-up notice to families on Sunday, he acknowledged that the news of the cluster likely brought up a lot of emotions for students.
“There have been all types of loss experienced by children during this pandemic,” he wrote. “The loss of normalcy and routine is probably the biggest one.”