A student at Hamilton High School West has tested positive for COVID-19, according to an update released by Hamilton Township School District superintendent Scott Rocco Oct. 16.
The news comes just four days after the district launched a hybrid model of instruction that included rotating cohorts of students attending school in-person.
Parents of students and every faculty and staff member at the high school who has been in close contact with the student who tested positive have been notified by the school, Rocco said, adding that there is no indication of exposure beyond Hamilton High West. Hamilton High School West will be open for students on Monday, Oct. 19, as normal. (UPDATE: As of Oct. 18, Hamilton High West will move to an all-remote schedule for two weeks after a second student tested positive for COVID-19. The school building will be closed until Monday, Nov. 2.)
The district consulted with the Hamilton Township Division of Health, and has begun cleaning and disinfecting all exposed areas within the school. The district also has taken further precautions to prevent the spread of viruses, Rocco said, including cleaning frequently-touched surfaces daily. Schools will follow policies developed with input from federal, state and local health officials.
“Our district plan outlines a procedure that we are required to follow (which includes working closely with our local health department),” Rocco wrote. “When a confirmed COVID case occurs, your school will follow the outlined procedures and they will notify specific students, staff, and faculty individually, who may have come in contact with the individual(s) and follow up in writing. The school will then send a letter notifying their community of the situation. In addition, I will notify our school district of the confirmed case.”
As of Oct. 16, Mercer County is one of nine New Jersey counties to have no outbreaks of school-related COVID-19. A school is considered to have outbreak when there are two or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14-day period. The positive cases must be epidemiologically linked within the school setting, cannot share a household and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting.
To date, there have been 2,105 total positive cases of COVID-19 in Hamilton Township, and 187 deaths attributed to COVID-19. Of the positive cases, 1,727 people have recovered, according to township data.