The Labor Day holiday weekend did not begin the way Cedar Ridge School District superintendent Dr. Sherry McMasters had hoped.

At 8:21 Friday night, her weekend went from leisurely and relaxing to near chaotic when elementary principal Kathy Magness called McMasters to report that a faculty member had tested positive for COVID-19.

From there, McMasters called the district's COVID point of contact, and then reported the positive case to the Arkansas Department of Health.

Dr. McMasters said she began working with individuals from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Arkansas Department of Health (ADH), and Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) 

A second elementary faculty member tested positive for COVID-19 Saturday and went through the exact process again that she went through on Friday in reporting the positive case of COVID-19..

Communication between Dr. McMasters said those agencies is ongoing. She also said she has been in constant contact with the district's Communications Coordinator and COVID Point of Contact, Brianna Goodman and Magness, to gather and report information to district stakeholders,

The elementary (K-5th grade) will switch to virtual learning for the 14 days of quarantine due to the number of faculty and students who have been identified by district administrators and COVID positive faculty members as Probable Close Contact which means any 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. This person(s) will be expected to self-quarantine immediately for 14 days from the last date of contact with the positive case and await their Close Contact status to be confirmed by ADH Contact Tracing. A quick response to identify and quarantine will slow the possible transmission of the virus.

McMasters said additional faculty have gone to get tested on their own and those have come back negative and says she is not aware of any students that have tested positive for the virus.

Members of the District Leadership Team met Sunday morning at 7:45 a.m. to complete and submit the district's Modification of Onsite Instruction to AR Ready For Leaning.

Arkansas Ready for Learning said in an email, "Dr. McMasters has been working with Rachel Horn at [Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] DESE. The district will continue to work with ADH and DESE to review data and make operational decisions as needed."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will provide a rapid response test to the district-identified probable close contacts. Once the COVID test results are in, Dr. McMasters said she will review the data, consult with the CDC, ADH and DESE to make the appropriate adjustments.

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