This past week, we tested more than 310 faculty, staff, and students for the COVID virus.
On Monday, we tested 30 coaches and members of our football team. These students and staff had been in quarantine for five days following exposure to a positive teammate. All tested negative and all returned to school.
On Thursday, we tested the second half of our community. We had three students that tested positive: a 12th grade boy, 11th grade girl, and a 5th grade boy in Mrs. Clark’s homeroom. In each case, we have conducted contact tracing, identified students/faculty in close contact, and we have asked them to quarantine for five days before being tested again. As there were no direct connections between these cases, we believe we are not seeing any outbreak of the virus within our classroom settings.
It is not all good news, however. We have seen a significant increase in the presence of the virus in our community. As I alluded to in my Loom on Monday, just this past week, we had five parents and a teacher test positive for COVID and two other teachers teaching from home because of exposure to positive cases. Two more teachers will need to do the same starting Monday. The virus is considerably more prevalent in Roanoke than it was earlier in the fall.
Our testing further affirmed this general community spread as we had five additional adult members of our school community test positive; one staff member, one faculty member/coach, one faculty member that was already teaching from home because of prior exposure, and two volunteers.
The increased number of adult positives is worrisome as it is part of a significant increase in positive cases in the Valley. Now is not a time to attend large Halloween parties or frequent crowded places. In fact, we have seen in our own community that even smaller family gatherings can be spreader events. I ask that all members of the North Cross community be very careful as our region has a COVID positivity rate more than twice the State average.
We have cross-referenced all of our most recent positive results against students and faculty that have been quarantining for the past week, as well as comparing new positives with the list of students currently quarantining or sick at home. In both cases, we did not observe any indication of spread within our school community. While we do not believe the virus was transmitted at school or practice, we will, out of an abundance of caution, quarantine the boys’ varsity soccer team for five days and require a negative test because a coach and a player tested positive. In addition, the child of our positive staff member was also one of the students that tested positive.
All persons testing positive are to isolate for fourteen days from the date of testing and may then return, assuming they are symptom free for 24 hours. All persons living in the same house as a person that tested positive are treated as a positive and will also isolate. Students deemed in close contact are asked to quarantine for 5 days and take a COVID test which must be negative prior to a return.
To sum this up, we have seen an increase in our overall positivity rate to 2.5% but we believe this increase is largely due to an increase in the amount of virus in the general community and not due to spread at school or through athletics. The Medical Advisory Group will review these results shortly, to determine if there are further efforts to be made or if our testing schedule should be altered.
Thank you again for your help in keeping the school community safe and remember to wear masks, distance, and avoid crowded spaces.
Christian J. Proctor, PhD
Dr. Proctor is the ninth Head of School at North Cross and has served as such since 2011. He has more than 30 years of experience in education. He has served as headmaster at Porter-Gaud School in Charleston, South Carolina, St. Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana, Grace Episcopal School in Monroe, Louisiana, and as Interim Headmaster at Wesley Academy in Houston, Texas. In each location, Dr. Proctor’s tenure was marked by creativity, innovation, and school growth.