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More quarantine notices sent from Eagle County Schools

Positive cases result in quarantine notices for a combined 146 students and 17 staff members between five local schools

As COVID-19 cases have risen in Eagle County, so, too, have quarantine notices from local schools as a result of positive cases.

Eagle County Schools announced Wednesday that since Nov. 6, positive cases at area schools have resulted in COVID-19 notifications going home to families. Among all students and staff, there have been a combined 10 new positive cases since Friday in local schools.

The schools impacted are Battle Mountain High School, Eagle Valley High School, Gypsum Elementary School, Edwards Elementary School, and Homestake Peak School. In total, those positive cases have resulted in quarantine orders being issued for a combined 146 students and 17 staff members between the five facilities.

Generally, public health officials notify the school district of a positive case with ties to the schools, either as a student or staff member. Working collaboratively, public health and the district pull relevant schedules, seating charts, and begin interviewing the positive case and those who might have been in close contact with them while infectious. A careful list is developed of those students or staff who need to quarantine to contain the potential spread. Those needing to quarantine are called and emailed promptly, including in the evenings and over weekends.

Quarantine orders protect the broader population from those who may be contagious, asymptomatic, or most likely to develop symptoms. The layers of protection at schools, starting with wearing face coverings and social distancing, help protect those exposed from actually acquiring the virus.

So far, public health officials have identified one incident where transmission could be traced to have occurred at a school and between teacher and student. In that instance, the teacher was asymptomatic and was not confirmed positive until after a student tested positive.

As the rate of cases, percent of positivity, and local hospitalizations have dramatically increased, so has the number of positive cases having some school-time contact at the onset of the illness.

For weeks, local, state, and national public health agencies have been sharing trend data that suggests the increase in cases is happening mostly through personal transmission at the household level.

Locally, new measures have been issued to limit private gatherings to no more than 10 people from no more than two households. These measures have met some resistance as county residents experience pandemic fatigue. The recent positive cases and resultant quarantines at the schools have been fourth and fifth generations of infection. The goal is limiting spread to first or second generations.

In personal and private gatherings, it can be awkward or uncomfortable to be vigilant about wearing masks and practicing social distance when you are with close friends, families, and even neighbors. To suppress the rising cases, local officials have stressed that the community will need to continue being intentional about practicing safeguards in personal interactions. Eagle County Schools, in a release, said it is very grateful for the vast majority of parents who are working tirelessly alongside staff to follow recommendations and keep students healthy and in school.

The district continues to safeguard against school transmission by adhering to vie layers of protection:

  • Staying home if sick
  • Wearing face coverings
  • Maintaining as much distance as possible
  • Practicing good hand hygiene and frequent cleaning
  • Conducting daily symptom screenings

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