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Lebanon schools report 2 COVID-19 cases; in-person activities canceled through Monday

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/8/2020 1:04:10 PM
Modified: 10/8/2020 9:49:34 PM

LEBANON — School officials on Thursday said they had learned of two cases of COVID-19 involving students at Lebanon High School and Lebanon Middle School, prompting them to cancel practices, games and other extracurricular activities through Monday.

Lebanon’s four schools will also be closed to in-person classes on Friday.

The decisions were made “out of an abundance of caution,” Superintendent Joanne Roberts wrote in an email to parents. Students across the district will learn via remote instruction on Friday, and school photo day will be rescheduled, she said.

Schools were already slated to be closed on Monday for the Columbus Day holiday.

The case involving the Lebanon High School student was announced in an emailed message to families just hours after Roberts had informed parents of a confirmed COVID-19 case involving a Lebanon Middle School student.

That student, who does not ride a school bus, had not been in school for several days while waiting for the test results, Roberts wrote in her first email.

Taking the school district’s lead, Lebanon Recreation & Parks on Thursday also canceled in-person activities for all grade levels “until further notice,” according to a Facebook post.

The city had not heard that a participant in its programs or a family member had tested positive, as of Thursday afternoon. Still, it opted to cancel the programs “out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our community,” according to the post.

School Board Chairwoman Wendy Hall, reached by phone on Thursday afternoon, said she had no additional information to offer about whether the two cases might be related or whether more were expected.

“We’ll probably have a better sense of things in a few days,” she said.

School officials “are actively working with and following guidelines from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services,” Roberts said in her emails.

That includes providing DHHS with contact information for people who had close contact with the infected students. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes when a person who has tested positive is believed to have been infectious.

DHHS will reach out to close contacts or their parents or caregivers and instruct on self-quarantining at home. Those families and staff will be directed to get tested and keep themselves or their children quarantined until 14 days after their last possible exposure.

“We will work with these families to provide educational instruction and support during this time,” Roberts said. “We will certainly keep you informed if further steps or actions need to be taken.”

The Lebanon School District is currently operating on a hybrid model, so that just a portion of the students are receiving in-person instruction each day.

All staff members and students are told to wear masks, stay 6 feet apart, and wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently, Roberts said.

The district is slated to move to a five-day in-person model later this month.

Several other schools in the Upper Valley have reported single cases of COVID-19 this year, including Hartford High School and Sunapee Middle High School, but no outbreaks have yet been reported.

As of Wednesday, there were 507 active cases of COVID-19 in the Granite State, including 14 in Grafton County and four in Sullivan County. A total of 8,800 New Hampshire residents have been infected during the pandemic.

In Vermont, 1,827 people have had the disease.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at or 603-727-3213.

Valley News

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