Days after Lake Havasu City elementary schools reopened their doors for hybrid learning, a positive coronavirus case was reported to Lake Havasu Unified School District personnel at Jamaica Elementary School. The school district reached out to parents to let them know how such cases will be handled.
LHUSD Director of Special Services Aggie Wolter said Tuesday that “due to privacy law,” she was unable to provide “any direct information about specifics of students or staff,” and declined to say if the case is a student or staff member. However, last week, a case at Jamaica was reported to the district, and they are working closely with Mohave County Health Department.
“The same day, a letter was sent out to notify any staff or students who may have been in contact (for more than 15 minutes within less than six feet) that there was a case reported,” Wolter said.
Jamaica is a school of 424 students, not including students enrolled in the online academy, according to the district’s latest enrollment report. The number of students currently on campus for hybrid learning was not provided in the report. Wolter did not say if there have been other cases confirmed in the district.
Wolter declined to say if or how many staff members at the school have called in sick, but she said the district has “not experienced the issues that we have seen on the news happening in [the] Phoenix metro area with huge call outs [by staff] at this time.”
The district has, however, seen its substitute staff pool shrink due to a lack of interest, Wolter said.
“We anticipate that we will have a reduction in our winter sub pool of retired teachers who visit Lake Havasu and substitute while they are enjoying our beautiful weather,” she said.
Jamaica Principal Andrea Helart and district personnel directed all questions concerning the case and staffing to Wolter.
Wolter explained that when a confirmed or suspected case of covid-19 is reported, district staff conduct a “health investigation,” which includes a survey of staff, students, and parents to determine possible exposure and the extent of notification required.
“Our full time school nurses are working very closely with Mohave County Health Department to address the community covid-19 health emergency,” Wolter said, adding that the district is “very appreciative of the quick response and collaborative efforts” that they are experiencing with the health department.
Superintendent Rebecca Stone wrote a letter explaining the district’s response to cases, which was sent to all parents and posted on the district website Monday.
She said the district is “counting on every parent to assess their child each morning.” If students exhibit any covid-19 symptoms, they’re urged to stay home until they are fever-free for 24 hours and all other symptoms have improved.
She also outlined the enhanced cleaning and mitigation efforts made by district schools, including required face masks, social distancing, frequent hand washing, regular sanitizing, and full-time school nurses — all detailed in LHUSD’s Roadmap to Reopening, available to view on HavasuNews.com and lhusd.org.
“While we are taking many precautions, they do not remove the risk of exposure to covid-19,” she continued. “Students and staff come to school each day with other students and staff who are also at risk of community exposure… We realize that positive covid-19 tests can be unsettling, but we are hopeful that our mitigation measures will minimize the risk of transmission in our schools.”
Families and students are invited to contact their school or district’s “covid-19 contact” at any time if they have any questions or concerns. Anyone interested in subbing should call 928-505-6900 to apply.
LHUSD covid-19 contacts
District Office: Mrs. Wolter (928-505-6948)
Havasupai: Ms. Elms (928-505-6042)
Jamaica: Ms. Sandoval (928-854-7283)
Nautilus: Ms. Struve (928-505-6062)
Oro Grande: Ms. Gilmore (928-505-6082)
Smoketree: Open — Ms. Dutton (Department Chair, 928-505-6022)
Starline: Ms. Turner (928-505-1492)
Thunderbolt: Ms. Dutton (928-854-7231)
LHHS: Ms. Knight (928- 854-5351)