In keeping with our COVID-19 protocols, we are writing to let you know that we were informed yesterday, September 24, 2020 that a member of our community tested positive for COVID-19. This individual was onsite at our Early Childhood Campus last week for a few minutes, in a small contained area. The individual was in the building for such a brief time; therefore, no one at PHA is considered a “close contact”, per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Mass Department of Public Health (DPH), which both define a “close contact” to occur when an individual is “near someone who is positive for 15 or more minutes.” Per our COVID-19 protocols, we have notified the Somerville and Cambridge Departments of Public Health. In addition, all COVID-19 cleaning protocols and notification protocols were successfully implemented. Furthermore, all of PHA’s buildings are safe to be open at this time.
Our top priorities are the safety and health of all who have been on campus, as well as the privacy of the individual who has tested positive. Our nursing staff have already spoken with staff identified through contact tracing as being anywhere in the vicinity of the individual who has tested positive. If you haven’t received a phone call from us already, there is no action that you need to take.
While this is a difficult situation, it is important to remember that the protocols that we put together in our Reimagining School: Return to Learning Plan
took into account the possibility of members of our community testing positive for COVID-19. These protocols have proved invaluable and worked successfully to ensure we can act swiftly and with an utmost commitment to the health and safety of our staff, students, and families.
Some of you may know the identity of the individual who tested positive. If anyone contacts you to ask about this situation, do not pass on any identifying information. In addition: If anyone has health questions or concerns, please contact Lead Nurse Maureen MacCarthy at 716-201-0185 or your campus nurse. We’d like to reiterate that, due to privacy and HIPAA
considerations, we are not able to reveal identifying information regarding any person who tests positive. In response to questions for identifying information, you can say something like, “We have to prioritize the privacy of the individual who tested positive, so we are unable to share medically protected information.”
Our hearts are with the individual in our community, wishing them a quick and uncomplicated recovery. We realize this email may cause some anxiety, and we along with your campus leadership and nurses are available to talk with any of you who have questions or concerns. We continue to forge ahead in this new landscape with timely communication and transparency -- these coupled with tight protocols that we ALL adhere to will allow us to effectively mitigate the spread of the virus.
Thanks and take good care,
Angela F. Allen, Ph.D. & Karen Shmukler, Ed.D.