An elementary school in Enfield that was hit with a wave of COVID-19 cases among its staff is closing for the remainder of the week, according to school superintendent Christopher Drezek.
Of the 75 staff members at the Henry Barnard School, 40 have tested positive for COVID-19, Drezek said in a letter to parents.
On Monday, Drezek sent a letter to parents warning them that the school might have to be closed after more than 30 staff members tested positive. That number has grown since Monday and he made the decision to close the school Thursday and Friday.
The superintendent writes that the district consulted with the North Central District Health Department about the decision.
“My advice which may not be popular to some is if you’re concerned about your children, if any of them have underlying health conditions or if you have someone in the household that they see that’s medically fragile, we would encourage mask use again during this uptick in cases we’re seeing,” said North Central District Health Department Director Patrice Sulik.
As for the high number of cases, she said they expected to see an uptick, but just didn’t know how fast or far up the numbers would climb. Sulik said to keep in mind Easter was a couple of weeks ago.
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“The world is all the way back open again, which in some ways is wonderful, everybody is enjoying it. But all of that plus removal of mask mandates, I think those are all contributing factors, so I don’t think there’s any unusual reason that this occurred and we do expect to see more of it," Sulik said.
Sulik hopes that if anything this may get students, parents and staff more interested in getting vaccinated, something she said the health department would gladly coordinate.
"Although we have tried to cover the building with staff members from other schools, we have reached a point where we simply cannot provide adequate adult supervision to safely open for in-person learning," Drezek said in the letter.
The days will be treated like snow days and children will not have to learn remotely, according to Drezek.
He said he hopes the school can be reopened Monday, but will have to wait until the weekend to determine if that will be possible.
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