Cherry Creek School District lists 4 coronavirus cases since first day of school

One case, a staffer at Pine Ridge Elementary, was last in the building Aug. 14

Ellis Arnold
earnold@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 8/25/20

The Cherry Creek School District notified families about four cases of COVID-19 among district staff and one student since school began Aug. 17.

One of those cases — a staff member for Pine …

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Cherry Creek School District lists 4 coronavirus cases since first day of school

One case, a staffer at Pine Ridge Elementary, was last in the building Aug. 14

Posted

The Cherry Creek School District has notified families about four cases of COVID-19 among district staff and one student since school began Aug. 17.

One of those cases — a staff member for the day care program at Pine Ridge Elementary School — was last in that building on Aug. 14, and there was not any contact between that staff member and the general Pine Ridge student population, according to a letter from the district to Pine Ridge families. That school sits in far southeast Aurora near the E-470 tollway.

A Grandview High School student also tested positive for COVID-19, the district announced in an Aug. 24 letter. Eight students were told to quarantine after contact-tracing efforts, said Abbe Smith, district spokeswoman.

“Contact tracing” is a term for public health workers notifying people that they may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Grandview sits in the southeast Aurora and Centennial area.

“A public health investigation showed that a very limited number of students were in close contact, within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer, with that student, who was at school on Thursday, August 20,” the letter says.

Different grades returned to school on different days the week of Aug. 17, which was organized as a “phase-in week” for students to come to school to practice new routines and to allow staff and students to begin to develop relationships prior to the full start of school.

Those whose families are not contacted directly about the cases do not need to take any action, the letter says.

One staff member at Belleview Elementary School in Greenwood Village tested positive, an Aug. 21 letter says. Five other staff members at Belleview Elementary and five staff members at the adjacent Campus Middle School came in close contact with the Belleview staff member, according to Smith.

Two students at Campus came in close contact with the staff member, and none did at Belleview, according to Smith.

One staff member tested positive from the district’s Options Homeschool Program, located at Cherry Creek’s East Fremont Avenue building near South Jordan Road in central Centennial, according to an Aug. 19 letter. Two staff members were told to quarantine, and no students were impacted, according to a public health investigation, Smith said.

The Grandview, Belleview and Options cases were first reported on by The Denver Post.

How the district handles cases

Any case of COVID-19 in the Cherry Creek School District is investigated by the district’s public health partners, according to the letters. As part of that public health investigation, the person is kept home until they are no longer infectious, and the person’s mask use, physical distancing and activities while infectious are assessed, the letters say.

Those who came in close contact with an infected person are told to quarantine — stay home from school for 14 days after the exposure.

Some of the COVID-19 cases were identified through the district’s free testing for staff, Smith noted.

“While this proactive testing has identified more positive tests, it has allowed the district time to identify staff members and quarantine them before their interactions with colleagues or students,” Smith said.

The district planned to offer free testing every two weeks for all staff, regardless of symptoms, Superintendent Scott Siegfried announced in a July 29 live video presentation to the community.

District continues to watch data

The district monitors data on the coronavirus’ spread in Arapahoe County to guide decisions about whether to hold school in person or entirely online.

In his July 29 presentation, Siegfried unveiled a point system for evaluating data to guide the district's decisions. If trends in the coronavirus' spread are reassuring enough for seven to 14 days, the district holds classes in person.

The district considers data including Arapahoe County's percentage of COVID-19 tests that show as positive, the county's number of hospitalizations and its overall number of added cases over time.

See information about the district’s data evaluation method on its website here.

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