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With 1 active case and 3 overall, Lyme-Old Lyme schools having success against COVID-19

Old Lyme — Two fourth-grade classes in one of the Lyme-Old Lyme school district’s elementary schools are quarantining after a student or staff member reported testing positive for COVID-19, the district’s superintendent said Friday.

The positive case is one of only three reported in the district since school resumed Sept. 1, the superintendent, Ian Neviaser, said.

“We’ve been very lucky,” he said. “We’ve had an incredible experience, with all of our schools remaining fully open every single day. Everyone has been wonderful about adhering to the mitigation strategies we’ve put in place — wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing.”

Neviaser declined to say whether those who have tested positive are students, faculty or other district employees. Lyme-Old Lyme schools have about 1,300 students and fewer than 300 employees, he said.

None of the positive cases stemmed from transmission of the coronavirus within the schools, he said.

In the current case — Neviaser declined to identify the elementary school — a fourth-grader or staff member involved with the fourth grade reported testing positive outside the school, prompting the school’s two fourth-grade classes to start quarantining this past Monday, Neviaser said.

“They’re all staying at home,” he said. “The teachers and teachers’ aides are teaching from home and all the students are at home on touchscreens (computers).”

The 14-day quarantine period, which begins 48 hours before the onset of an infected person's symptoms, will expire Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day, Neviaser said, meaning the fourth-grade classes will be able to return to school Monday, Nov. 30, following the district’s holiday break.

The two fourth-grade classes have a total of about 30 students.

Neviaser said the other two COVID-19 cases in the district occurred between September and November and that those who quarantined have returned to school.

Neviaser participated in a conference call Friday morning with officials of the state Department of Public Health and the state Department of Education, who he said were adamant about the importance of keeping students in school and limiting the transmission of COVID-19 in schools.

“We’ve had zero transmission," he said. "We intend to stay open.”


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