LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Two students at Charlestown High School and Lanesville Junior-Senior High School have tested positive for COVID-19, according to correspondence obtained Friday by WDRB News.
Dr. Eric Yazel, public health officer for Clark County, confirmed Friday that a student at Charlestown High has COVID-19. Officials at Greater Clark County Schools, which began the 2020-21 school year on Wednesday, deferred comment to Yazel.
"We're in the process of contact tracing and notifying those exposures of what happened and kind of moving forward from there and making plans for any kind of extra cleaning for the school," he said, adding that anyone who came within 6 feet of the infected student for 15 minutes or more would be contacted.
"I'm sure that's alarming for parents who have gotten that call, and I wholeheartedly understand," he said. "But it also shows that the process is working as it should."
Charlestown High will be open Monday.
Steve Morris, superintendent of Lanesville Community School Corporation and principal of Lanesville Junior-Senior High, confirmed that he notified families Friday that a student who attended the first day of classes Wednesday had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Harrison County Health Department indicated that the students will be able to return to the school Monday after affected areas in the building are sanitized, he wrote.
"The situation is not what anyone would desire for day three, but not surprising for some point in time," Morris wrote. "Please do not cast stones; as a small community, we stick together, thrive together and will get through this together."
Morris told WDRB News that the student, a senior, experienced symptoms Wednesday evening and did not come to school Thursday. They tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, and Morris said the seating charts implemented by the school for classrooms, buses and cafeteria make tracing contacts relatively easy.
While GCCS reopened for the first day of school on Wednesday, one school remained closed.
Students at Jeffersonville High School started the 2020-21 school year learning remotely after a teacher tested positive for COVID-19 and exposed other educators, forcing them all to quarantine.
Yazel said students and teachers testing positive for COVID-19 was an "inevitability" that officials kept in mind as they helped develop the district's reopening plans amid the pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics and others have stressed the importance of reopening schools for the well-being of students, he said.
AAP and national education groups stressed the need that school reopening plans keep everyone safe, something Yazel believes Greater Clark's guidance achieved.
"We knew this was a high-likelihood possibility," Yazel said. "I don't think this is the last of those either."
"We have to do everything we can from our end to create as safe an environment as possible to attend school," he said. "That's what we're doing, and we know that it's not a perfect scenario, that we'll get positive cases in our schools. The onus is on us to react appropriately when that happens."
Morris wrote in his letter to families Friday that Lanesville's reopening "has gone very well."
"I appreciate all the efforts of our school community in adapting to school and life during a global pandemic," he wrote.
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