Community Public Health Update, March 10

Dear Duke School Families, Faculty, and Staff,

I am writing to share that we were informed today that three siblings in Lower School and Middle School, who were last on campus on Thursday, March 4, tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 9. Two students remain asymptomatic. One student, who is already quarantining with their pod, tested positive after experiencing slight symptoms on Sunday morning which were resolved by Sunday afternoon.

At the guidance of the Durham County Public Health Department and in consultation with a member of the Clinical Advisory Group, we are advised as follows:

  • Because two siblings (Lower School and Middle School) are asymptomatic and have not attended school since March 4, there is no change of school attendance at this time for students or faculty/staff.

  • The symptomatic child is a member of a pod that currently is quarantining. Currently, there is not sufficient evidence to confirm that the cases within that pod are related. Because we have already taken the necessary and approved precautions to quarantine the pod, we have mitigated any risk of transmission on campus.

  • The Durham County Public Health Department is in the process of following up individually with families of quarantining pods.

Information Sharing and Guidance

I recognize this news may be unsettling, but we are very confident that we have and will continue to do all we can to ensure a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff on campus. During this time, members of the school’s Leadership Team and I are in frequent communication with our contacts at the Durham County Public Health Department (DCPHD) and with members of our Clinical Advisory Group (CAG). All members of our staff are providing detailed information to support contact tracing efforts by DCPHD and for our CAG to carefully assess and recommend next steps. Because of this, we have been able to respond swiftly.

Health and Safety Protocols in Place

Our health and safety protocols are solidly in place. I commend our faculty, staff, and students for their diligence to date: wearing face masks, reminding one another of proper masking, maintaining physical distancing of six feet at all times, maximizing outdoor times, eating and snacking outdoors when at all possible, refraining from sharing food or eating inside in close spaces, and practicing frequent hand washing and sanitizing of hands and personal work spaces. I am grateful for the expertise and care of our entire maintenance and facilities crews for their tireless work. The school continues to be cleaned throughout the day and a deeper cleaning takes place daily after school.

Maintaining Vigilance is Critical at this Time

Consistent adherence to all safety protocols and school policy are critical to our ability to provide an on-campus program. I urge all to closely self-monitor with a disciplined eye and take every precaution in conforming to distancing, masking, hygiene protocols. It is critical to continue to adhere closely to our community commitment, local orders, and CDC guidelines. I strongly encourage you to review our Duke School Return to School Policies 2020-21. The health and safety of our entire community rests on our continued diligence, even as we look forward with optimism about the future.

Please know that Duke School will continue to monitor this situation and will provide additional information as needed as we keep paramount the health and well-being of every member of our community. Thank you for your on-going cooperation as we work through these challenges.

Warmest regards,

Lisa Nagel

Head of School

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