DERRY — Classes, fall sports, and in-person activities at Pinkerton Academy are temporarily suspended after a “significant community exposure,” according to a statement issued last week from Headmaster Timothy Powers.
The high school moved to remote learning for all students — including those in afternoon and evening programs — through the end of October, Powers said.
“On Oct. 30, we will reassess the data for our area and our school community to determine if we will return to hybrid learning or remain in remote at the start of November,” the statement reads.
School officials said they learned on Oct. 14 that a student tested positive for COVID-19. That person was last on campus Oct. 8, however, another person knowingly exposed to them showed up to campus despite being told to quarantine, Powers said.
“Additionally we are aware of significant community exposure linked to these cases due to activity outside of our daily operations,” the statement explains.
Specific figures were not provided, but Powers’ statement notes an expectation of more positive cases resulting from these exposures.
Powers said that going to remote learning was not just because of positive cases.
"The number of staff and students we will have quarantining is ultimately what has led to our need to temporarily move to remote learning," he said.
Powers said “the vast majority have gone above and beyond” to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, but “the actions of a few others have impacted you unfairly.”
Members of the school community are being told to closely monitor themselves for symptoms.
“This is the time period when symptoms might start showing for those who might have had close contact,” the statement reads. “Close contact is defined as several minutes of face-to-face interaction without masks.”
School officials have been in touch with the state Department of Health and Human Services, according to Powers. Contact tracing is in progress, but no specific timeline exists for alerting everyone who may be impacted.
The complete learning schedule can be found on the Pinkerton website.
School officials would like to be notified of any changes in health among members of the school community.
Powers closed his note by stating, “It is only working together and being honest and transparent that we will be able to return to campus and sustain any level of in-person instruction.”
In a more recent statement released Oct. 18, Powers noted that another person in the daily school community had tested positive for the virus.
"Because we have been in remote learning, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has determined that no exposure to our daily campus community occurred on campus," Powers said, adding the state would contact anyone identified as having close contact with any infected person.
"We ask that students continue to complete the daily self-monitoring form, even in remote learning," Powers said. "This will allow us to continue to have a sense of the health of our community even as we are remote."