MONTPELIER — Two people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at Union Elementary School.
Montpelier-Roxbury Public School District Superintendent Libby Bonesteel said Thursday the district isn’t saying whether the two infected with the virus are students or teachers at this time, but they were both part of the same pod. Bonesteel said those who are part of the pod have been contacted and contact tracing is underway with the state Department of Health.
“We are following the Department of Health’s protocols and guidelines and they are leading us through this process,” she said.
The superintendent said the department has told her one of the cases originated outside of the school. It’s unclear if the second person also caught the virus outside of the school or if he or she caught it from the first person.
At Gov. Phil Scott’s regular news conference Tuesday, state officials had said there had not been a confirmed case of the virus transmitting to others inside a school, though there had been a handful of students who had caught the virus outside of school.
Bonesteel said she’s been told by the department the second confirmed positive case was most likely contracted inside the school. But Ben Truman, the department’s communication officer, said in an email Thursday there has been no in-school transmission. The department was unable to clear up the discrepancy by press time.
Truman said the department is working on a pop-up testing site Saturday at the Barre City Auditorium. Details were to be announced late Thursday or Friday.
Bonesteel said the district has asked the department to consider testing those at the school. Truman said school-wide testing is not being recommended at this time.
“Any close contacts of cases are being reached by our contact tracing team. They will be given appropriate guidance for isolation, quarantine and testing,” he wrote.
Those who receive a call from the department are encouraged to answer the phone so that they can provide information in an effort to contain a potential outbreak.
Officials say the two cases at the elementary school are not connected to a recent outbreak at Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center. According to state officials, 12 people who had participated in youth and adult hockey leagues at the rink had recently tested positive for the virus. Officials are working on how the 12 caught the virus because it was unclear if they caught it at the rink or during other activities such as car pooling or team gatherings.