Community Public Health Update, March 19

Dear Duke School Community,

COVID-19 Status Update

The Clinical Analyst Group and I wanted to provide you an update regarding the COVID cases in Duke School students over the past two weeks.

Regarding the most recent identified case in preschool which resulted in closure of a preschool pod and a kindergarten pod earlier this week: we have learned that the kindergarten student also is positive and continues to quarantine at home. In addition, another child from the preschool pod that is quarantining is asymptomatic and was tested based on the parent’s decision. This child is positive and has a sibling, also in Lower School, and their test is pending at this time. These siblings are quarantining at home.

In summary, there are 9 Duke School students (across 5 families) that have tested positive for COVID. There are two pods, each in preschool, that have had 2 of these cases each. One of these preschool pods completed the quarantine period on March 15, and are back to school. The other preschool pod remains on quarantine until March 25.

Out of abundance of caution, the kindergarten pod mentioned and a second grade pod were quarantined. The second grade pod was related to an isolated case. No additional cases have been reported from either of these pods.

Please note that no Duke School teachers or staff in these pods have tested positive.

Testing Guidance

When more than one individual within a pod tests positive, our CAG encourages COVID-19 testing for all students in that pod. Testing should occur 4-6 days following the last exposure if asymptomatic or as soon as possible if symptoms develop. This information will help us better understand the potential for transmission within and between pods, particularly given the number of siblings across pods in the school.

Mitigation Measures and Review

This latest report may raise concerns for you about the cases at school, protocols, behaviors, and next steps. Because we have gone seven months without occurrences on campus and then have had several cases recently, the Clinical Analyst Group, the Leadership Group, and I are conducting a series of protocol and policy reviews.

We are in conversation with our faculty and staff about redoubling all efforts with respect to protocols, just as I have asked of you. Our faculty and staff have worked diligently throughout the year to maintain strict adherence to classroom protocols. They will continue to review the importance of PPE, distancing, and handwashing with students, conducting checks and offering reminders. They are maximizing use of outdoor space for play and for daily lunch. Rest times for young children continue to include ample spacing (= or >6 feet).

For Every Family

Review protocols with your child that keep everyone safe: distancing, handwashing, and proper masking. Acknowledge that while we are all getting tired of these routines, we must not let our guard down, and we must work together to keep everyone safe.

While adults can receive vaccinations, our students cannot, and they remain vulnerable. To protect our children, we cannot relax our protocols even in this hopeful climate. Thank you for your heightened awareness, your care, and for every effort you make to maintain the same vigilance you have throughout the year as a member of the Duke School community.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or Russell Rabinowitz with questions.

Thank you,


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