NEWS – “Over 100 Bear River Middle School students told to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19”

BEAR RIVER MIDDLE SCHOOL – By Cari Doutre – October 28, 2020

More than 100 students at Bear River Middle School in Garland were told on Tuesday, Oct. 27, to quarantine after it was determined they were in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus).

According to a letter sent home to those students, the school is asking them to quarantine starting Oct. 27 until Nov. 6. They will not be permitted to return to school until Nov. 9. Parents are asked to watch their children for symptoms commonly reported by infected individuals.

Eldon Petersen, Bear River Middle School’s Principal, said 114 students total were placed in quarantine following their contact tracing guidelines. That criteria is for anyone that was within six feet of the infected person for 15 minutes or longer.

The letter did not state who the individual is that tested positive for COVID-19 nor did they identify them as a student, teacher or staff member. This is the first-time students have been asked to quarantine at Bear River Middle School after being exposed to the virus at school.

“In the last week we have three confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Bear River Middle School. Investigations are still being performed but we have no reason to believe at this time that the cases are connected. The number of confirmed cases, or potential quarantines due to the cases, are very typical of what we are seeing with any school right now,” stated Joshua Greer, Public Information Officer with Bear River Health Department.

Bear River Middle School is also asking students, teachers and staff members exposed to the virus to get tested for COVID-19 but added, “Please know that a negative test result will not shorten your student’s quarantine. (Except in certain circumstances. See “Low Risk Test and Return” criteria below,)” the letter stated.

In order to return to school students must meet the following criteria listed on the letter:

1. The school verifies the student, teacher or staff member who was exposed and the person who tested positive were both wearing a face mask as defined by the State Public Health Order on masks in school.

2. The quarantined student, teacher or staff member has a negative COVID-19 test result (must be a PCR or antigen test – not an antibody test. The test result must be from at least seven days after the last exposure to the person who tested positive.

3. The student, teacher or staff member does not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Only quarantined student, teacher or staff members that have been asymptomatic for seven days following their last exposure to the virus can be considered for the “Low Risk Test and Return” option. Those guidelines only apply if the exposure occurred at school.

If a student, teacher or staff member opts out of COVID-19 testing, they are permitted to return to school 14 days from the last day of exposure.

As of Oct. 28, 2020, the Bear River Health Department is reporting there have been 961 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Box Elder County. In Utah the Utah Department of Health has their count at 108,803.

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