Cherry Creek logs 4 COVID cases in first week of school

Cherry Creek School District has had four confirmed cases of COVID-19 since in-person classes began Aug. 17.

Abbe Smith, chief communications officer, confirmed three staff members and one student have tested positive for the virus, leading to a total of 26 individuals in five different schools who have been asked to quarantine. All the schools remain open.

“Part of this is that we’re offering free COVID testing for all of our staff members, so we have been able to identify a few cases with teachers or other staff members that were asymptomatic and work with them to not come into work,” Smith said.

That was the case with one staff member at the Pine Ridge Elementary School day care program, who had not been in the building since the school year started, Smith said.

Another staffer who tested positive worked in the Options Homeschool Program, which takes place at the district’s Fremont Building. Contact tracing led to two other staff members going into quarantine. No student were impacted, she said.

The last staff member had been to both Belleview Elementary and Campus Middle schools, where a collective 10 other staffers were determined to be in close contact and therefore asked to quarantine. Two students at Campus Middle were also in close contact with the individual, Smith said.

One student at Grandview High School tested positive after attending classes on Aug. 20. Because Cherry Creek had what it called a “phase-in week,” only one grade was present each day in school and just eight students were determined to be close contacts, Smith said.

Cherry Creek is relying on a COVID tracker developed by Superintendent Scott Siegfried to decide whether it is safe to host in-person classes. The tracker weighs four data points — two-week average test positivity rate, daily hospitalizations, the number of daily reported cases and 14-day incident rate per 100,000 residents — intended to track the prevalence of COVID-19 in Arapahoe County.

Each data point is assigned a rating. A score below 4 means it’s unsafe to open school facilities, while equal to or above 4 means it is safe. On Monday, Cherry Creek determined the relative safety rating to be 7.

“We are very closely going to be referring to that chart for determining whether the district will teach in-person or remote, and we do update that every day on our website,” Smith said.

Though the state does not require schools to disclose positive cases, Cherry Creek has notified families with students who attend schools in which COVID-19 has been detected.

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