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What does CLOSE Contact mean?- 10/21/20

posted Oct 21, 2020, 8:47 AM by Whitney Brown
Last night's information about a Positive Case of COVID-19 at Ellsworth HS (EHS) and Hancock County Technical Center (HCTC), has understandably had people asking two questions. What does this mean for districts who send tuition students to either EHS or HCTC? What does Direct Contact really mean? (CDC uses "CLOSE Contact" and I will from now on.)

1.) In regards to Ellsworth and HCTC, for districts who send tuition students like all of SU 93, we will get involved because we may send and pick up student(s) to either school by bus through either DISHS or GSA. If a positive case were to happen to one of our students or Close Contact we would then make sure that extra cleaning would occur:

- On the bus being used
or
- if the student returned to one of our schools in areas they used at the school
and
- if the student(s)/ staff involved needed further precautions such as quarantine, we would make that clear to students, families or staff.

We would of course then also let you know our next steps if your district was directly involved. I did this last night with the CSD and parents of students at DISHS.

2.) What is CLOSE Contact? The CDC uses the term "close contact" as opposed to "direct contact". These are used interchangeably but from now on we will use the CDC language to keep things consistent. The definition of a close contact per CDC: For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Per our SU 76 Stay Home & Return Guidelines (attached), any person that we know of with CLOSE Contact with someone infected is to be quarantined.

There seems to be some confusion on what CLOSE Contact is. CLOSE Contact is Not a person with CLOSE Contact with someone who has been in CLOSE Contact with someone who has been identified with the virus. It is not a 3rd party contact. 

I hope the above helps as we continue to work together to keep everyone as safe as possible following the CDC, Medical experts and Science!

My best,

Christian M. Elkington

Superintendent School Union 76
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