Five positive COVID-19 cases -- four students and one staff member -- have been identified in the Larimore, N.D., school district, affecting the high school only, according to Superintendent Steve Swiontek.
No changes in in-person learning have been made yet, but that could “potentially” happen if numbers rise, according to Swiontek.
“We are looking at our policies as well, regarding the whole process," he said.
“Hopefully, we don’t have any more cases, but, if we do, we’re going to have to take some further steps,” he said. “We have been thoroughly sanitizing and cleaning the school, though, on a daily and hourly basis, so I’m pretty secure about the condition of our building, but we’re going to have to look at some of our policies.”
“We have some recommendations from the county health (unit), and we’re going to use those recommendations," said Swiontek, regarding the number of cases that could trigger classroom or building closures. "In fact, we’re going to consult with Grand Forks (Public) Health with all of our next steps -- as we have been; we have always been consulting with those folks -- and what we might do if we have additional positive cases.”
Regarding the five positive cases, Swiontek declined to disclose other details, as doing so might make them identifiable, he said.
Also, 35 staff and students, identified as close contacts, are in quarantine as of Monday, Sept. 28, he said.
Of the 165 students enrolled at Larimore High School, about 20 are distance learners, and the rest are in-person learners, he said. The district has a total enrollment of 371, including students who attend class in the separate elementary school building and employs about 65 staff members.
Swiontek and other school leaders are considering the possibility of postponing some upcoming volleyball games and weighing “what’s the future going to hold for us as far as school and all that," he said.
“The safety of our children and our staff is our No. 1 priority,” he said.
Potential policy changes, regarding responses to positive COVID-19 cases and related matters, will be discussed at the Larimore School Board’s next meeting, set for Oct. 16, Swiontek said.