COVID-19 coronavirus 24

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At least two Indiana County school districts have already had to deal with cases of students exposed to COVID-19.

One happened two weeks ago in the Marion Center Area district, while another was reported Tuesday afternoon on the United School District Facebook page.

“The United School District contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health regarding a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a summer activity participant,” the district posted on Facebook. “The Department of Health was able to complete their contact tracing and informed the district that they believe there was no known exposure with any other student or staff member.”

As far as the district knows, Superintendent Dr. Barbara L. Parkins said Thursday afternoon, it is an isolated incident.

“We’re really trying not to disclose any information, to protect the rights of the student,” Parkins said.

“There was no time when this student or other students were inside the building, and the supervisors adhered to the district’s Sports Reopening Plan,” United officials posted on Facebook.

“At this time the Department of Health representatives have advised us that summer activities may continue,” the United post continued, “and they encouraged the district to adhere to its safety and mitigation efforts in reminding staff and students of the importance of wearing masks when feasible, hand washing regularly, and continuing to social distance.”

Marion Center Area’s problem was reported on the district’s website on July 31.

“The district was made aware earlier (that) week that a student athlete was exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19,” Marion Center officials posted. “Any program that may have been in contact with the athlete was put on hold for the remainder of (that) week. The test results, confirming that individual was positive, were obtained (July 31).”

The district said the football program was shut down until further notice.

“Other summer programs will continue to run, with the utmost attention given to social distancing and face mask requirements,” the post said. Anyone with questions were told to call the district office at (724) 397-5551 or to click on the “Have a Question” link to submit a query via email.  

In addition to the website, Marion Center officials said they used an automated call center and other means of contacting residents.

“We’ve had no other cases or outbreaks,” Marion Center Superintendent Clint Weimer said Thursday. “Our community was well-informed, our athletes were kept safe, we followed all directives from the Department of Health. It did not impact any of our other programs.”

District officials said they contacted the Department of Health and started working through a contact tracing process, with “all families of children that were in contact with the individual” being personally contacted.

The district said health officials recommended self-quarantining for 14 days for those who were in contact within 6 feet of the athlete for more than 15 minutes.

“For those that were not in close contact, they advise that families/individuals monitor for symptoms and call their physician, if symptoms should arise,” the post said.