ALAMOSA — During their meeting Tuesday night, members of the Alamosa Board of Education were briefed on the school district’s response upon being notified that a student attending high school had tested positive for COVID.
Andy Lavier, principal of Alamosa High School where the student attends classes in person, reported that the school was informed last week. Public Health provided contact tracing, notifying all those individuals who had been exposed with ultimately 7 students and 2 teachers being quarantined.
Thanks to the plan AHS had implemented to restart school, exposure was quickly and largely contained. “We had a plan in place,” Lavier said, “and it worked.”
Alamosa High School restarted in-person instruction in phases that brought students back to school one grade level at a time, allowing teachers and staff to better work with students both individually and in their cohorts on learning “new habits, new processes and routines”.
Lavier reported that, even prior to receiving notification from Public Health, the benefits of the approach were apparent with students reminding other students to put on their masks or wash their hands.
That plan was also key in limiting widespread exposure to COVID as the student who tested positive was in association with only 5 other students.
Following notification, Lavier did a walk through the next day with the janitor who demonstrated his routine in cleaning, which revealed no problems and was done according to protocol. The staff also debriefed on the incident Friday afternoon.
“This experience just emphasized for me the importance of doing things as they should be done,” Lavier said. “Is everybody wearing a mask? Is there enough hand sanitizer? Are we all practicing social distancing? It’s important that we do all those things.”
There was general agreement that the plan was designed well.
The incident also raised the question of the best way to communicate with parents if/when a situation arises, as evidenced by the number of phone calls the principal received once the public became aware of a positive case being identified.
Lavier and Interim Superintendent Marsha Cody also discussed helpful ways of keeping teachers in touch with their students digitally during the time that they are quarantined.