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COVID update for Sunday: Oxbow deep cleans after staff member tests positive; college enrollment declines

  • Usually bustling with students, the Dartmouth College campus is mostly empty on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, in Hanover, N.H.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • In this photo taken Wednesday April 6, 2016 students walk past the historic Thompson Hall at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H. The water system serving the University is among more than two dozen in New Hampshire that have exceeded the federal lead standard at least once in the last three years. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Published: 10/18/2020 12:35:54 PM
Modified: 10/18/2020 12:35:50 PM

BRADFORD, Vt. — Oxbow High School was closed this weekend for a “deep cleaning” after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, school officials said Saturday.

“In working with the Vermont Department of Health, we have determined that no students at Oxbow are considered to be close contacts who require testing or quarantine to limit spread,” Superintendent Emilie Knisley wrote in a Facebook post. “This is excellent news for our students.”

Contract tracing is underway, she said, and officials have isolated the positive case to the 8th grade.

Knisley added that there is no impact on River Bend Career and Technical Center or shared bus routes.

“While we know the positive case is in 8th Grade, I am asking our community to not speculate as to who it is, remembering that we all are doing our best to avoid this insidious virus,” Knisley wrote.

The numbers

New Hampshire health officials on Saturday announced one death and 112 new cases of COVID-19 as the state continues to battle a rise in cases and hospitalizations.

One woman from Hillsborough County died from virus-related illness, according to a news release from the Department of Health and Human Services. She was at least 60 years old.

Overall, 466 people have died from the novel coronavirus in New Hampshire, while 9,625 contracted the virus.

Of the new cases, 24 were reported in Rockingham County, while Merrimack County saw 22 new cases and Manchester reported 21.

There were three new coronavirus cases reported in Grafton County on Saturday, while Sullivan County saw one.

No new hospitalizations were reported, although 18 people currently require hospital care, according to HHS figures.

In Vermont, 11 new cases were reported Sunday, bringing its total case count to 1,937.

There are no current hospitalizations in the Green Mountain State and no one has died from COVID-19 since late July.

College enrollment declines

Enrollment declines at many New England colleges during the pandemic are putting further pressure on financially struggling institutions.

The number of full-time graduate and undergraduate students plummeted by more than 20% this September compared with the previous year at more than two dozen colleges and universities across the region, according to the New England Commission of Higher Education, the regional accrediting agency.

The pandemic has hit community colleges and many of the students they serve particularly hard, the Boston Globe reports.

Many students are opting out because of remote learning or difficulty paying tuition because of job losses, and that will accelerate difficulties at institutions that were already struggling, the newspaper reported.

Another 50 colleges saw enrollments drop by between 10% and 20%, said Lawrence M. Schall, president of the accrediting agency.

The pandemic “will accelerate the financial pressures,” Schall said. “The schools that were weak coming in are going to be weaker coming out.”

Maine reports new church outbreak

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed an outbreak in a church in the town of Brooks.

At least 17 cases are linked to the Brooks Pentecostal Church, and the Maine CDC launched an investigation, officials said Sunday.

Individuals who spent time at the church or its affiliated school since Oct. 2 or who attended a fellowship rally between Oct. 2 and Oct 4 should monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19, officials said.

The new outbreak comes after a summer wedding and reception became a super spreader event in the state linked to seven deaths and more than 175 cases.




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