CANTON — Superintendent Jill Rossetti reports that Blue Hills Regional Technical School leadership has received notification that a Blue Hills student has tested positive for COVID-19, the illness associated with the novel coronavirus.
The district was made aware this afternoon of a Blue Hills student from Dedham who tested positive for COVID-19. The student was notified by their local health department this morning.
The patient has been isolated and is being supported and monitored according to public health guidelines. Under State and Federal privacy laws no further information is available about the individual.
Close contacts (defined as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of a positive case) have been identified, contacted by health officials, and are adhering to DPH orders for quarantine.
Although the quarantined close contacts are asymptomatic, they will be monitored on a daily basis by their local health officials while they are in quarantine to limit the risk of spread.
“This remains a very fluid and rapidly evolving situation,” said Superintendent Rossetti. “At this time, we have not been made aware of any other confirmed cases among our students or staff but we will continue to closely monitor the situation. Our thoughts are with the student and we wish the student well as they recover.”
Blue Hills will remain closed through the end of April as a precaution against the COVID-19 pandemic, per an order by Governor Charlie Baker announced yesterday. The statewide closure of schools, originally set to end on April 7, has been extended until Monday, May 4.
Blue Hills’ custodians and maintenance staff continue the comprehensive and thorough disinfecting and sanitizing of all school and administrative buildings to ensure a healthy environment once classes resume.
The situation is fluid and new information is being posted regularly by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the DPH. The CDC offers the following guidance for how COVID-19 spreads:
- The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
- People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
- Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects:
It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. As a precaution, it is recommended that residents clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.
Due to the evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Gov. Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory. This means all residents are advised to stay home during this time in order to curb the spread of this virus, with the exception of going grocery shopping or picking up medication.
Blue Hills Regional Technical School leadership and state and federal public health officials urgently encourage all staff and students to practice social distancing and remain at least six feet away from others while avoiding congregating in groups larger than 10.
Parents should be sure to talk to their children about proper hygiene and prevention methods as well as the importance of social distancing until further guidelines are provided by state officials about the status of the virus.
Social distancing will help to minimize exposure among people, especially given that COVID-19 is highly contagious and people may be contagious prior to exhibiting symptoms.
As the weather continues to improve, outdoor gatherings are viewed as safer, but social distancing techniques should still be practiced. Walking in outdoor recreation areas in
Organized activities like basketball and tennis are prohibited. Teens are included in this group, and activities like bike riding and hiking/ walking are viewed as safer alternatives to gathering indoors
Officials are encouraging residents to take the following precautions to prevent infectious diseases, such as the flu and COVID-19, from spreading:
- Washing hands with soap and water, scrubbing hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%-95% alcohol.
- Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces, including phones, tablets, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, toilet flushers, countertops.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as lip balm, water bottles, eating utensils, etc.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when coughing or sneezing and then wash hands.
As always, if anyone displays symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should not come to work or school and they are advised to contact their primary care physician.
COVID-19 Information Resources
Blue Hills encourages everyone to stay informed regarding COVID-19. The following websites are recommended for the most updated information:
- Town websites: Avon, Braintree, Canton, Dedham, Holbrook, Milton, Norwood, Randolph and Westwood.
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: www.mass.gov/covid-19
- Massachusetts 2-1-1 general COVID-19 information: Click here or dial 2-1-1 (24/7)
- Sign up for the Massachusetts COVID-19 Text Message Notification System to receive important updates: text “COVIDMA” to 888-777
- United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
Additional updates will be provided as information becomes available.