Community Park Elementary School staff member, Stuart student, test positive for COVID-19

A staff member at Community Park Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19, officials confirmed Saturday. 

The Princeton Health Department has been in touch with other staff members who might have had any prolonged contact with the person. Officials said the staff member will continue to be monitored and will quarantine for at least 14 days.

According to school district officials, the staff member was at Community Park on Wednesday and had limited contact with other staff members. No students were present. The staff member was described by the Princeton Health Department as being asymptomatic.

The Princeton Health Department has advised the district that Community Park can still open on Oct. 5 as scheduled for Pre-K, kindergarten, and first-grade students.

Parents at Stuart Country Day School were informed on Thursday night that a fourth grader there had tested positive for COVID-19.

“As the Lower School is cohorted by grade, this means that the 4th grade will be quarantining and learning remotely for 14 days. No other students in the school need to quarantine as they would not have been in close contact with this student,” reads the email to parents and staff. “As a reminder, a close contact is someone who spends more than 10 minutes at less than six feet from a person who has tested positive. Passing in the hallway, or merely being present in the same building, does not count as close contact. The Princeton Health Department has provided instructions on how to safely quarantine at home and they have been shared with our fourth-grade families. All who are impacted have already been notified. Again, if you have not been contacted you are not expected to quarantine.”

According to a written statement by Princeton Health Department officials, the health department responds to COVID-19 positive students and COVID-19 exposures in collaboration with school administrators, school nurses, the Princeton Health Officer, and the health department’s contact tracing staff.  Officials said each partner bears responsibility for portions of the response to assure every effort is made to control the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Actions are based on current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, New Jersey Department of Health COVID-19 public health recommendations for local health departments for K-12 schools, and the Princeton Public School’s COVID-19 Protocol for school administrators and nurses.

The roles and responsibilities of each partner in COVID-19 exposure, or confirmed case, are as follows:

School Nurse

  • Interview student, student guardian, or staff member to evaluate if there has been any COVID-19 like illness, exposures to known COVID-19 positive individuals, or travel to areas of high levels of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Isolate individual if they are in school. Staff are sent home to isolate.  Students are isolated until a parent or guardian can pick up the pupil.
  • Testing is recommended for individuals with COVID-19 like symptoms.
  • Notify the school administrator.
  • Notify Princeton Health Department. Suspect case notification can be made via email to a group email for contact tracers.  Confirmed cases must be reported by phone immediately to Health Officer or Public Health Nurse.

School Administrator

  • School building administrators communicate with Superintendent of Schools for public schools, or with a designated administrator for private schools to communicate current information and needs through the organization pertaining to case management.
  • In Princeton Public Schools, the superintendent of schools makes all decisions related to closing of schools and moving a class, or a group of students, to remote learning. At private learning institutions, this task is appointed to a designated individual.
  • School administrators develop and disseminate communications to notify close contacts of the student or staff member, and to the school community.
  • Assure proper cleaning and disinfection processes are being followed within the facility.

Princeton Public Health Nurse

  • Princeton Public Health Nurse assists school nurse with contact tracing within the school and conducts contact tracing for individuals outside of the school, such as family contacts, contacts from programs or activities outside the school, and other contacts in the community.
  • Tracks cases in New Jersey Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System and CommCare, monitoring for new cases and contacts.

Princeton Health Officer

  • Oversees all contact tracing activities.
  • Communicates and coordinates with school administration on case management and messaging.
  • Assures actions taken follow the recommendations of CDC/NJDOH/Princeton Health Department guidance