Coronavirus

Officials this week said they’ve learned of COVID-19 cases in people connected to five area schools, though nearly all local students and teachers returned from winter break Monday with fully remote classes.

Five cases of the viral respiratory illness have been reported this week, one each at Great Brook Middle School in Antrim, Pierce Elementary School in Bennington, Conant High School/Jaffrey-Rindge Middle School in Jaffrey, Hinsdale Middle/High School and Winchester School, according to district leaders.

A Hinsdale student tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a post on the district’s website. None of the other school districts specified whether the coronavirus cases were found in students or staff members.

According to the Hinsdale district’s website, “there is no risk of direct exposure to the school community since we have been out of school for vacation and the quarantine period will be over prior to the return to in-class learning,” which is scheduled for Jan. 19.

Kimberly Rizzo Saunders, superintendent of the ConVal School District — which covers Antrim, Bennington, Dublin, Francestown, Greenfield, Hancock, Peterborough, Sharon and Temple — announced the cases at Great Brook and Pierce in separate posts on the district’s website Wednesday.

The district has already notified the “very few” people who were in close contact with the infected person at Pierce School, Saunders wrote, and no one came into close contact with the person at Great Brook who tested positive for COVID-19. The ConVal district is operating remotely until Jan. 19, but a limited number of students who need in-person services have been coming to school during this remote-learning period.

Similarly, the Jaffrey-Rindge Cooperative School District has “very few” students attending in-person classes while schools are remote through Jan. 19, Superintendent Reuben Duncan wrote in an online message Wednesday announcing the coronavirus case at the middle/high schools, which share a campus. The school nurse there has already notified anyone who came into close contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19, Duncan added, and the school has been cleaned and disinfected.

Someone who was on the campus of Winchester School on Monday has also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a post on the school’s Facebook page. Anyone who came in close contact with that person, including several staff members, have been instructed to quarantine.

“Due to this strain on staff, all students in grades 6-8 who were scheduled to be on campus for in-person services, will now need to be remote for the next 10 days,” the Facebook post reads. “In-person services for those students will resume January 19th.”

The Winchester district has been fully remote since Nov. 16 due to a rise in coronavirus cases throughout the region. Winchester’s school board voted Thursday night to keep the district remote at least through early February.

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.