Sacred Heart School in East Grand Forks has delayed the start of school for two days, because a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19.

The first day of school for students in K-12 is Thursday, Sept. 10, according to school officials who notified parents and students in a letter sent Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The school’s preschool program will open as planned on Tuesday, Sept. 8, officials said.

“Even with calculated plans in place, we realize incidents of COVD-19 will happen. We unfortunately have experienced this with a positive case and exposure amid our faculty/staff,” officials said in the letter. “Fortunately, this has happened now, giving us the time needed to execute our protocols prior to the start of school.”

The school administration is working in coordination with Polk and Grand Forks counties’ health offices and under the guidance of the Minnesota and North Dakota state health departments to follow procedures established in the school’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.

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"Being the first days of school and laying the foundation for in-person and distance learning instruction are so critical,” administrators decided to delay the first day of school, according to the notice to parents. "This provides the time needed for a safe return in person for the first day."

Because of the positive COVID case, some staff members were unable to attend the school’s open house Tuesday, Sept. 1, but the teachers were able to attend and join their classrooms virtually in real time. A host teacher was present on site to greet students and help them find their lockers and store their school supplies.

A thermal scanner was used to assess the temperatures of K-12 families who attended the school’s open house event and their scheduled meet-and-greet conferences on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 1-2.

Anyone who was not feeling well, experiencing COVID-related symptoms, had had known contact with someone infected with COVID-19, was awaiting results of COVID testing or was on quarantine for exposure was asked to stay home and not attend the open house event.