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COVID-19: Oxbow High case linked to Montpelier ice rink outbreak

Staff Reports
Published: 10/21/2020 10:43:02 PM
Modified: 10/21/2020 10:42:55 PM

BRADFORD, Vt. — A previously announced case of COVID-19 in a staff member at Oxbow High School has been linked to an outbreak to hockey and broomball in Central Vermont.

Orange East Supervisory Union Superintendent Emilie Knisley said that the case in Oxbow, which school officials first announced on Saturday, is among the 34 cases linked to the outbreak, in a Tuesday message posted to the Newbury Listserv.

Half of those infections are in people who play at the Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center in Montpelier, while the others caught it from the infected players, Knisley said, citing information she received from the Vermont Department of Health. In addition to Oxbow, which moved to remote instruction through Friday of this week, other cases related to the outbreak are in people involved with Union Elementary School in Montpelier.

The civic center is currently closed, but it could reopen as soon as Tuesday. Health Commissioner Mark Levine said the spread is likely to have occurred off the ice, during activities such as carpooling or social events.

Hockey has been linked to COVID-19 infections in both of the Twin States. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu last week put a two-week pause on hockey and skating in order to reevaluate safety measures after state health officials identified more than 150 cases involving more than 20 different hockey organizations and teams. The New Hampshire hockey cases involved at least 24 schools around the Granite State.

New London-area schools report cases

NEW LONDON — Kearsarge Regional School District officials announced two cases of COVID-19 in students at two schools earlier this week, one of which prompted a temporary move to remote learning for the district’s high school.

School officials learned of a positive case in a student at the Kearsarge Regional High School in North Sutton, N.H. and another in a student at Kearsarge Regional Elementary School at New London on Monday, according to a letter to families from SAU 65 Superintendent Winfried Feneberg and Assistant Superintendent Michael Bessette posted to the district’s website.

The case in a senior at the high school prompted a move to remote learning on Tuesday to allow for deep cleaning, disinfecting and necessary contact tracing in collaboration with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

But as of 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, high school administrators still had not heard from DHHS that contact tracing had begun for the high school case, the school’s principal Charles Langille Jr. said in a letter posted to the district’s Facebook page at that time. As a result, the school continued with its remote model of learning on Wednesday.

Contact tracing was completed Wednesday morning, and as a result seven students and two staff members are required to quarantine for two weeks, Feneberg said in an email.

Athletic activities and games resumed Wednesday afternoon and the high school was set to return to its normal operations, which includes a mix of in-person and remote learning, on Thursday, Feneberg said. The district’s other schools’ operations were not affected by the positive cases.

The elementary school student tested positive on Oct. 13, but the family and the district didn’t learn of the positive result until Monday. That student had not been in school since Oct. 13. The student had a sibling at the middle school who had tested negative, but also had been quarantined at home due to DHHS recommendations.

The district’s leaders also informed families of a third positive case in a parent of students at the elementary school, middle school and high school on Monday. The affected students have been and continue to be quarantined, administrators said.

The Kearsarge cases come as COVID-19 incidents increase across the region. As of Tuesday, there were 824 active cases in New Hampshire, including 85 new cases. Of those, there were 12 new cases in Merrimack County and two in Grafton County. No new cases in Sullivan County were reported on Tuesday.

Lyme to hold public health online forum

LYME — Town and school officials and local public health experts are hosting a public health forum via Zoom on Thursday.

They scheduled the forum following the announcement last weekend of a case of COVID-19 at The Lyme School and a subsequent move to online instruction for middle school students and teachers at the K-8 school.

The forum is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Community members can register by calling Converse Free Library at 603-795-4622 or visiting the library’s website at www.lymenhlibrary.org.




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