Barranca Mesa Elementary School/Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Public Schools Supt. Kurt Steinhaus notified parents and families Wednesday that the the district has learned of a presumptive COVID-19 case at Barranca Mesa Elementary School.
Although the COVID-19 Toolkit issued by the state does not require schools to inform parents unless a case is confirmed, Steinhaus told the Los Alamos Reporter the decision to make the announcement was made using the best judgment of the LAPS Leadership Team. He said a staff member had presented symptoms unique to COVID-19 and that if he was a parent he would want to know there was a presumptive case.
Steinhaus said the district has the necessary procedures in place and can move very quickly. In his email he said Barranca Principal Gina Terrazas and the Leadership Team implemented the following actions:
- Barranca school has been closed for cleaning and disinfecting
- All families with students potentially exposed have been contacted
- Teachers are teaching from home
- Any staff member who may have been exposed is scheduled for a COVID-19 test
- We are following all procedures in the COVID-19 Toolkit and working with the New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED) and New Mexico’s Department of Health (NMDOH)
If a staff member or a child tests positive for COVID-19, LAPS will:
- Immediately inform parents, families and staff
- Follow the Decision Trees on pages 11 and 12 of the COVID-19 Toolkit
- Complete the NMPED Supplemental Close Contact Report (referenced on page 9 of the attached Toolkit) https://webnew.ped.state.nm.us/bureaus/safe-healthy-schools/covid-19-coronavirus/
- According to NMPED and NMDOH, all staff and students who were in “close contact” with the infected individual will be tested, and they must self-quarantine at home for 14 days
- A “close contact” is defined as being closer than six feet for more than three minutes to a person who is positive for COVID-19