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School System, Health Department Handling COVID-19 Concerns at Fruitland Primary

Wicomico County Public Schools has notified the Wicomico County Health Department of a positive COVID-19 case and a person with COVID-19-like symptoms in the staff of Fruitland Primary School. The school is immediately shifting to virtual learning for the next two weeks as a health and safety precaution. School families and staff were informed by a call from the school principal Sunday evening.

As soon as Wicomico Schools became aware of the positive case and the possible case, School Health Services followed established protocols and reported both cases to the Health Department, which monitors COVID-19 case numbers. Contact tracing was immediately conducted. Despite staff members and students having followed COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, including wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing, there were a number of staff members and students who were close contacts late last week of one of the two people affected. All of these close contacts must now begin a 14-day quarantine period. (The quarantine could end sooner for close contacts of the person with COVID-19-like symptoms if that person tests negative.)

Wicomico Schools has already:

  • begun informing known contacts of the COVID-19 positive person and the person with COVID-19-like symptoms of their possible exposure during close contact (within 6 feet) for a total of 15 minutes or more, starting from two days before the infected person became symptomatic or had a positive COVID-19 test. Close contacts were informed in a phone call by School Health Services staff, with a letter about specific health protocols to follow.
  • informed all families and staff associated with the school that while they are not directly connected to the COVID-19 situation, there has been a positive COVID-19 case in their school building. An informational letter was provided to them.

Recommended health protocols are being followed for those testing positive or showing COVID-19-like symptoms, and for those who had close contact with either person. Extensive cleaning and disinfecting will be done throughout the school building, which is anticipated to reopen for hybrid instruction on Monday, Nov. 9. While the school building is closed, Fruitland Primary will not serve as a meal site. Meal bundles may be picked up at any Wicomico school, including nearby Fruitland Intermediate and Bennett Middle.

School system staff and students take a prescreening health questionnaire each day before reporting to a school or worksite. They are required to wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at all times while in a school or on a school bus, and must maintain physical distancing of 6 feet or more whenever possible. While these measures are designed to minimize the spread of the virus, no method of prevention or protection is guaranteed to be 100% effective.