COVID-19 Outbreak at Bear Creek Elementary

By Luxe Palmer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

As of Monday, August 24, the school district’s first COVID-19 case of the school year has been confirmed. A student or employee (undisclosed) attending Bear Creek Elementary School (BCES) in Mrs Earnest’s class tested positive for coronavirus. An email was first sent out to BCES families on Sunday evening, then to the district as a whole on Monday morning.

The emails to BCES families and the school district both addressed the main procedures following the positive testing:

“The person diagnosed is being kept home from school until they are no longer infectious. The social distancing and activities while infectious were assessed. The people who were close contacts of the person with COVID-19 are instructed to stay home from school for 14 days after the exposure. This is called quarantine. Siblings in other classes who were not a close contact of the person can still go to school unless their sibling gets sick or tests positive for COVID-19. The Health Department reports that research indicates that it is unlikely that a contact of a contact not showing symptoms will spread the virus.”

They then reported whether or not the family’s student(s) would have to stay home, as well as whether a COVID-19 test was recommended.

District 38 and BCES collaborated with El Paso County Public Health Department in regards to how to proceed with separational quarantining and schooling.

In an email correspondence with Julie Stephen, central administrator for D38, it was said that “the health department and the Colorado Department of Education have numerous templates for notifications/letters and resources which provide guidance on appropriate steps for certain situations. Both websites are full of these resources.”

No further information has been given at this time, and the school district has not offered an official statement as of August 25, 2020. If you have personal inquiries, contact either BCES principal Peggy Parsley ([email protected]) or your local public health agency.

UPDATE: August 28, 2020- the COVID-19 case at Bear Creek Elementary has been updated to an official outbreak, meaning at least two people in separate households have contracted the virus. An email sent out to D38 staff outlined the procedures following the classification, including quarantining the infected people, as well as anyone they came in contact with. Due to these rigorous guidelines, BCES is able to continue in-person learning on Monday.