BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos High School parents were notified by Principal Carter Payne Friday that the first positive COVID-19 case has been confirmed among LAHS students since returning to in-person learning Monday.
“It appears that this COVID case was contracted outside of the school environment, before the return to in-person learning,” Payne’s email said.
“Part of our protocol is to perform internal contact tracing. In this case, the student was in class on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning before showing symptoms. The student has not participated recently in on-site NMAA or school-sponsored small group activities. During in-person learning, everyone in the same classroom at the same time as the COVID positive student is considered a close contact according to NMPED and NMDOH guidance. We have emailed the students in this group and their parents to notify them directly, and inform them of the requirements for a 10 day quarantine period. We are in the process of answering their questions and calls,” the email states
The affected seven affected class periods were listed and parents were told that if their student does not have one of those exact period/teacher combinations, they are not a close contact and that all other periods and classes are continuing as normal.
“As with all confirmed COVID cases, we followed NM Public Education Department protocols and reported the case to them immediately. The student is self-isolating at home, following our state’s COVID-Safe guidelines, and will continue to participate in remote instruction,” Payne said. “We are committed to keeping our school community safe and well-informed by communicating facts directly with you as quickly as possible.”
The Los Alamos Reporter reached out to Supt. Kurt Steinhaus Friday evening.
“First, I want to thank the staff at Los Alamos High School for their outstanding work to quickly conduct the contact tracing, follow guidelines from the Department of Health and communicate with parents. Second, I extend appreciation to our parents and greater school community for their help in following COVID-safe practices. What happened today was a good reminder about the impact of one positive case and the importance of staying vigilant about masks, hand washing and being safe. And third, we are working with the County to provide COVID-vaccinations for students age 16-18 and hoping for approval of a vaccine for younger children,” Steinhaus said.
The LAPS COVID Positive Case Chart also indicates a confirmed case for an adult at Los Alamos Middle School this week.