20211013-LOC-Winchester School Filer

Winchester School’s courtyard

WINCHESTER — Preschool classes have been suspended until later this month after several children tested positive for COVID-19, Winchester School Principal Valerie Carey announced Monday.

In a message to preschool families that afternoon, Carey said members of some students’ households have also contracted the virus. Several other children were either home with COVID-19 symptoms or awaiting test results as of Monday, she said.

Carey’s message to families did not specify the number of people infected with the virus. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The viral spread prompted Winchester School officials to cancel preschool this week and next, according to Carey. The school, which enrolls about 440 students in preschool through 8th grade, was open Monday. (High school students in Winchester attend Keene High School.)

“We are taking this precaution to minimize any community spread here at school,” Carey told preschool families in the phone message, which was also posted on the school’s Facebook page.

The preschool plans to resume normal operations Oct. 26, though children with any COVID-19 symptoms at that time will need to stay home, Carey announced. Remote sessions are available in the meantime for any children who receive special-education services, she said.

Carey recommended that preschool families monitor their children for any symptoms of the virus for 10 days after the last possible exposure, which could have been Friday.

“We understand this is an unwelcomed challenge, and we truly understand the frustration that may accompany this news,” she said. “It is important for us to take this step to keep students and staff safe and to minimize more widespread and prolonged disruptions.”

Caleb Symons can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1420, or csymons@keenesentinel.com.