Community Public Health Update, March 22

Dear Duke School Community,

In my letter of Friday, March 19, I shared that a Lower School student (third grade) was awaiting test results for COVID-19. Consistent with previous informational updates, I’m writing to share that the child tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, March 21, after their preschool sibling tested positive earlier last week. The child remains asymptomatic, has been quarantined since March 18, and will continue to quarantine now through March 31. The families and teachers within the child’s third grade pod have been notified.

Given the timing of the case, no one in the student’s pod—students, faculty, or staff—beyond the student’s family were identified as potential close contacts. I am sharing this information to raise awareness. There is no change in status of school attendance at this time for students or faculty/staff. The family will continue to quarantine for a duration as advised by the Durham County Health Department.

While this is the second child to test positive within this third grade pod, the Clinical Analyst Group (CAG) has determined that, based on the timing of each case and the positive tests within each student’s sibling groups, there is not definitive evidence of transmission between these two third grade individuals.

Also in my letter to the community last week, I shared that the CAG has recommended testing when >1 student within a pod tests positive. This is the recommendation when two or more students from the same pod test positive within a ten day period. In this instance, the testing dates of the two children span more than ten days, so testing of all students in the pod is not recommended at this time.

As a reminder, decisions regarding pod closures are made dynamically based on all information available at the time and consistent with our policies and the recommendations of the Durham County Public Health department. Everyone’s health and safety is our top priority.

We remain fully committed to enforcing our risk mitigation measures consistent with our DukeSchool Return to School Policies 2020-21: We have multiple, overlapping risk mitigation measures in place at Duke School to greatly reduce the likelihood of transmission at school. We continue to thoroughly clean and disinfect classrooms according to CDC guidelines. We ask everyone to remain vigilant about avoiding potential exposures and to practice mask wearing, social distancing and hand/face hygiene.

We are grateful for your continued support and partnership. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me or Russell Rabinowitz with your questions.

Kind regards,


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