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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 11, 2021
COVID-19 shuts down BHCS for two days
About 30 students, staff in quarantine

COVID-19 Local Updates Fall/Winter 2020
Click here to see the full COVID-19 Local Updates Fall/Winter 2020.

by Leslie Landrigan

The Blue Hill Consolidated School reopened for most students and teachers on Monday, March 8, after learning someone associated with the school tested positive for COVID-19 on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 3. The school was closed Thursday and Friday, March 4 and 5.

“I have all good news to report today!” Principal Shelly Schildroth emailed parents on Sunday, March 7. “We have all negative test results.”

But more than 20 students and nine staff members have to quarantine for 10 days, she said. Despite the staff shortage, the school was able to resume in-person learning on Monday, March 8.

“It’s a testament to the flexibility and perseverence of our staff,” Schildroth said in a phone interview. Families, too, have been flexible, she said. “That’s so important this school year.”

Remote learning

Schildroth said BHCS has “red weeks”—remote learning—when COVID-19 threatens to spread in the community. The school has had three, so families know the drill, she said.

Schildroth told parents about the COVID-19 case late in the afternoon of March 3, and said others in the school may have been exposed.

School nurses April Chapman and Jenny Pert did the contact tracing, calling all the close contacts of the person who got sick, Schildroth said. “They were amazing,” Schildroth said.

Older students had tablets at home so they could continue learning remotely. BHCS prepared remote-learning packets for younger students, and their homeroom teachers emailed them instructions. Some people didn’t receive emails because of a glitch in the system, but that was resolved, Schildroth said.

By Friday afternoon, COVID-19 tests for three-quarters of the close contacts had come back negative, Schildroth said. On Sunday afternoon, Schildroth told parents the classrooms would reopen to in-person learning, except for those in quarantine.