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COVID-19 case found at Hanover’s Ray School

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/9/2020 5:53:51 PM
Modified: 10/9/2020 5:53:45 PM

HANOVER — SAU 70 officials on Friday said they had learned of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the Bernice A. Ray Elementary School in Hanover, the third coronavirus case in two days at schools in the heart of the Upper Valley.

Hanover school officials declined to say whether the person infected is a student or employee, citing patient privacy, or whether they had been at school earlier in the week.

No students were attending school in Hanover or Norwich on Friday because of an in-service day for teachers, and the schools are closed Monday for the Indigenous Peoples Day holiday.

SAU 70 Assistant Superintendent/COVID-19 Coordinator Robin Steiner said in a phone interview Friday morning that for privacy reasons she would not give more information about the infected person’s identity, or whether there was any connection with two cases reported in Lebanon schools on Thursday.

“I can’t answer that,” she said. “I think people should know that we have a process in place to work on the situation that’s at hand. ... We have been taking all precautions necessary with the schools open and we will continue to do so. We are constantly monitoring what’s happening in the schools and in the community.”

Lebanon school officials said Thursday that they had learned of two COVID-19 cases involving students at Lebanon High School and Lebanon Middle School. The Lebanon School District canceled practices, games and other extracurricular activities through Monday, and taught students by remote instruction on Friday.

Tim Boyle, principal of Frances C. Richmond Middle School in Hanover, sent an email to the school community early Thursday afternoon, after news of at least one of the Lebanon cases had been announced, saying, “two members of the RMS community came in close contact with that positive individual and are currently following state and school protocols by quarantining themselves.”

A notice from Hanover school officials announcing the Ray School case to the SAU 70 community Friday morning said that they are following guidelines from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and that the agency has “requested we provide contact information for anyone who has been identified as having had close contact (within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes) with the infected person.”

DHHS officials will then contact those students or their parent/guardian and will instruct them to self-quarantine at home, the notice said. They would also be directed to get tested and stay in quarantine for 14 days following their last possible exposure.

DHHS spokesman Jake Leon said late Friday that he was checking with state health officials to see if there had been any “common exposure source” involving the Lebanon and Hanover cases.

“I would say that community transmission continues to occur in all counties and has been increasing over the past few weeks. This is especially true in the southern parts of the state, in particular Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford counties,” he said via email. “As we identify people with COVID-19, we continue to conduct public health contact investigations on each and every person to identify close contacts who are, then, tested to identify additional infections.”

On Friday afternoon, Hanover school officials said there was “no impact on any of our sports programs as of now,” including games scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

However, the Hanover Parks and Recreation department did cancel all games and practices through Monday because of the Ray School case, saying in a notice to residents it was “in order to keep our youth athletes and coaches safe.”

“This cancellation allows the state’s contact tracers time to complete their notifications,” the note added.

As of Thursday, there were 531 active COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire, including 13 in Grafton County and four in Sullivan County, according to numbers released by DHHS.

News staff writer Nora Doyle-Burr contributed to this report. John Gregg can be reached at or 603-727-3217.

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