March 8, 2021
Dear Elizabeth City Middle School Family,
ECPPS has been notified of a student at Elizabeth City Middle School who tested positive for the coronavirus. The student was last on campus on February 23, 2021. Due to privacy regulations, we will not disclose any other identifying information regarding the individual.
ECPPS and Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS) work closely together for all COVID-19 related matters. ARHS, in compliance with guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), conducts all contact tracing related to coronavirus cases. All individuals in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined. Close contacts are defined as having direct contact with, or being within six feet for at least fifteen minutes of a person who has tested positive without wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
Staff members must complete daily health screenings or attestation forms just as students complete daily health screenings. As a reminder, parents are asked to conduct daily screenings of the child’s overall health. Please keep your child at home if they are experiencing fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste of smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. ECPPS schools will continue to conduct daily health screenings, temperature checks, require face coverings on all campuses at all times, require social distancing, and promote hand washing and sanitizing at all times. We also continue to be vigilant in all safety protocols with regard to sanitizing and disinfecting facilities.
ECPPS is committed to safety for our students, families, and staff during these unprecedented times. We have followed the guidelines set forth by the state in Lighting Our Way Forward: North Carolina’s Guidebook for Reopening Public Schools and StrongSchools Public Health Toolkit (K-12). We have also partnered with ARHS as well as the ABC Science Collaborative to ensure our health and safety protocols are exemplary. The ABC Science Collaborative is a program that pairs scientists and physicians with school and community leaders to help understand the most current and relevant information about COVID-19. This partnership provides our district with data and best practices for return to campus plans and face-to-face learning environments. It further provides an overview of national, state, and local epidemiology.
Communication is so important for our families at this time. We want to share as much information as possible to keep our families informed. We not only want to inform you of any potential risk, but also of the preventative measures in place to ensure safety for everyone. As we are notified of confirmed cases of COVID-19, we will work with ARHS to ensure those impacted receive communication.
With regard to contact tracing through ARHS, ECPPS and ARHS will adhere to the following protocols:
- Local health department staff will contact the case-patient and determine who the case-patient has been in contact with during their period of infectivity. Again, close contacts are defined as having direct contact with, or being within six feet for at least fifteen minutes of a person who has tested positive without wearing recommended personal protective equipment. Caregivers and household members of the case-patient are considered close contacts.
- Only close contacts who had contact with the case-patient during the period of infectivity (defined as the date the case-patient developed symptoms up to the time the case-patient went into isolation) are notified.
- Contacts are notified of their exposure and asked to self-monitor for symptoms twice a day (morning and evening) for 14 days from the date of last contact with the case-patient or for 14 days after the case-patient’s isolation ends if in continued contact with throughout their illness (i.e., household members of the patient, fellow residents of congregate living facilities, etc.)
- Symptom monitoring should be conducted from the date of each person’s first contact with the case-patient continuing through 14 days after their last contact with the case-patient or for 14 days after the case-patient’s isolation ends if in continued contact throughout their illness.
We understand the importance of communication at this time. ECPPS is committed to providing a safe and positive educational environment for our students and staff. We appreciate your support as we work together to ensure safety for everyone.
R. Battle Betts, Jr., MPA
Albemarle Regional Health Services