Cedar Ridge employee tests positive

After announcing late Saturday that the Cedar Ridge School District was closing its doors to K-5 students for in-person learning, Superintendent Dr. Sherry McMasters said that the district is still gathering information and obtaining guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arkansas Department of Health regarding two employees' positive tests for COVID-19.

"I have been in communication with both agencies via phone calls multiple times throughout the day [Saturday]," McMasters said. "I am still gathering information for them and will continue working with them for the next few days. They will give guidance as to the amount of time to close and the exact grades to switch to virtual learning for a period."

She added that K-5 closure could "change to fewer, but that's what it is for now."

The district will do a drive-thru pickup of Chromebooks on Tuesday for virtual learning. K-1 will be available at 8-10 a.m. Second and third grade Chromebooks will be from 10 a.m. to noon and fourth and fifth grade will be available from noon to 2 p.m.

"All siblings can pick up Chromebooks during the youngest sibling's time," the district posted on Facebook. 

If none of those times work for parents, they can be picked up between 2-3 p.m.

The district reported via its Facebook page that it will shut down until further notice. That was after an initial quarantine of 14 days was reported earlier Saturday.

According to the district's Facebook page, the first reported employee tested positive on Friday. On Saturday, the school reported a second positive test and said they will shut down until further notice.

Initially, the school reported that they will quarantine for 14 days, but after the second test was reported, the school will close indefinitely. 

As of late Saturday afternoon, the district said in a Facebook post, "Although the initial length of closure was 14 days, after further contact with [Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education], the elementary school will quarantine until further notice. We will continue to work with ADH and DESE through the contact tracing process. We will provide updates as they become available."

McMasters offered some guidance of her own in a social media post earlier on Saturday.

"Each positive case must be evaluated on a case by case basis," McMasters wrote. The district will utilize the chart when appropriate. In this case, the K-5 elementary will close due to the 'close contact' of the positive case and the K-5 students and staff in the safe room Tuesday, September 1 during the tornado warning."

Probable Close Contact (PCC) is defined as district identified individuals that have likely been within six feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, during the infectious period.

Close Contact means an individual confirmed by ADH Contact Tracing who was within six feet for 15 cumulative minutes or longer within a 24-hour period a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 during the infectious period.

Secondary Contact is an individual who has had contact with someone identified as a Close Contact to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. In most instances, these individuals do not require quarantine, but are encouraged to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.

Quarantine is required for someone identified as a Close Contact to a positive case of COVID-19. This person must remain at home and avoid all public activities for 14 days from the last date of contact with the positive case, even if they receive a negative test result. The incubation period in which symptoms of COVID-19 may develop is considered 14 days.

Isolation is required for someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. This person must attempt to completely separate themselves from others for a minimum of 10 days, however, other criteria may apply when the person is either symptomatic or asymptomatic. The ADH Case Investigator will issue an official ADH letter of release when the individual is ready to return to work or school.

Employees and parents of probable close contacts and close contacts are secondary contacts and are not required to quarantine.

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