Concord School District confirms first positive case of COVID-19

Monitor staff
Published: 9/17/2020 12:28:53 PM

A Concord High School student who is a member of the high school marching band has tested positive for COVID-19, and now the district is working to get in touch with members of the school community who may have had contact with the student. 

In an automated phone call that was sent out to CHS marching band families Wednesday afternoon, the district asked students who were at band practice Sept. 9 to refrain from school activities such as sports and extracurriculars for 48 hours.

In an email sent to the district community Thursday morning, interim superintendent Kathleen Murphy said the student who tested positive has not been on school grounds other than for band practice, and that the school is working to follow guidelines from New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). 

“N.H. DHHS has requested we provide contact information for anyone who has been identified as having had close contact (within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes) with the infected person,” Murphy wrote. “N.H. DHHS will contact these individuals or their parent/guardian and will instruct them how to self-quarantine at home. Those families and staff will be directed to get tested and keep themselves or their children quarantined until 14 days following their last possible exposure.”

The Concord School District has been operating remotely since the first day of school Sept. 8. Most students have not been on school grounds, except those with IEPs and 504 plans, English Language Learners, students who are unhoused and students enrolled in CRTC who are permitted to learn in-person. 

Sports practices have been happening in person, as well as some extracurricular clubs and activities like marching band.

CHS marching band practices are held outdoors, with band members spaced six feet apart. Band members aren’t required to wear masks when playing wind and brass instruments, but all students and adults keep them on the rest of the time as they march, rehearse and instruct. Wind and brass players also have coverings over the bells of their instruments where the air comes out.

Concord isn’t the first New Hampshire district to see a COVID case since school began. Windham High School currently has three active cases of coronavirus and Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua has two, according to DHHS data. Griffin Memorial K-4 School in Litchfield, Seabrook Elementary School and Coe-Brown Northwood Academy all have one active case.

On Sept. 8, the school board voted to move the district to a hybrid model starting Oct. 6 if COVID-19 numbers in the area remain low. Under the model, students will be divided into two groups and attend school in-person on alternating days.

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