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Statement from Newport Schools Superintendent Colleen Burns Jermain regarding probable positive COVID case in Newport schools.

Dear Families and Staff:

As part of our commitment to transparency in reopening schools, I believe it is important to notify the
entire Newport Public School community about probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19 connected to our schools. These notifications should not be cause for alarm. Rather, they are intended to keep the community informed about the public health situation and about our response to individual cases. We have been informed about a probable case involving a Pell Elementary School student. We are working closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) to monitor and follow up on this case. Principal Westman and her team follow our plan and all appropriate procedures. The child was sent
home and is being tested. I want to commend the Pell Elementary nurses, teachers, and staff for the
excellent follow up and actions.

Please note that this is not a confirmed case. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a probable case as:

● Any person with ONE of the following symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath,
or loss of sense of taste / smell; or
● Any person with TWO OR MORE of the following symptoms: fever, chills, muscle aches, headache,
sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, or congestion / runny nose.

Any individual who is a probable case must be sent home from school, tested for COVID-19, and
isolated. If the test is negative, the person must remain at home until they have no fever for at least 24
hours and they are no longer experiencing symptoms. If the test is positive, the school district and RIDOH will take immediate steps to ensure that the case is contained, including 14 days of quarantine for the individual who tested positive and for anyone who was in close contact with the individual. RIDOH has teams in place to coordinate testing, contact tracing, and notification of those affected.

At this time, based on the information available about this case, RIDOH officials have advised that no changes are required to in-person learning at the school. Students and staff will continue to use the health and safety protocols we have in place an if any further action is required, we will notify those affected immediately and inform the community about next steps.

For more detailed information about the State’s guidelines for school districts related to COVID-19 symptoms and probable or confirmed cases, please see the RIDOH PreK-12 Response Protocols Playbook.

Throughout our planning for the reopening of schools, we have operated under the assumption that there would be suspected and confirmed cases in our schools. That is why we created a detailed plan with response protocols in place and trained our staff to respond to various scenarios as they unfold. Again, I want to commend our staff at Pell Elementary School who responded to this case quickly and appropriately, while remaining calm and supportive to everyone involved. This is a very different school year for all of us. As the weeks unfold we will continue to keep you informed, answer questions, and follow our plans we have in place to provide teaching and learning for all our students while at the same time keeping everyone safe.

Sincerely,

Colleen Burns Jermain, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Newport Public Schools