First case of COVID-19 transmission linked to school exposure in the Princeton Public Schools

Until Wednesday, COVID-19 cases among students, teachers, and staff members in the Princeton Public Schools all have been attributed to exposure outside of school. But a COVID-19 case at the Princeton Middle School has been linked to possible exposure through a close contact at the school.

A student has tested positive for COVID-19 at the school. The student was a close contact of someone else who previously tested positive for the virus at the school.

“As you know, our district has been very fortunate in regards to in-school COVID-19 transmission. Princeton Public Schools has not had any positive cases associated with COVID exposure in any of our schools. However, for the first time, we have a situation where a student may have been exposed to the virus at school,” reads an email from district officials to families Wednesday. “A Princeton Middle School student who was determined to be a close contact has now tested positive for COVID-19. This suggests in-school transmission. We are monitoring the situation and we have been in close communication with the Princeton Health Department.”

On Oct. 19, Middle School Principal Jason Burr sent an email to parents saying a student at the middle school had tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last at school on Tuesday, Oct. 12. Eleven close contacts were identified, and eight close contacts were required to quarantine.

For the week ending Oct. 15, there were five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the district – four cases were at the high school and one was at the middle school. All of the people who tested positive were students.

Between Sept. 13 and Oct. 15, there have been 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the district. Two of the 23 cases were staff members. Visit the district’s COVID-19 dashboard for more information.

An email also went out Wednesday night to high school families informing them that a staff member at the high school has tested positive for COVID-19 and was last in school on Oct. 19. Two close contacts were identified.

District officials said they hope vaccines will soon be available for students ages 5 to 11. “We are hopeful that this could be both our first and last in-school transmission,” reads the Wednesday email to families. “At the same time, it reinforces the need to be extra careful and to closely follow all health protocols.”