by KATE EVANS
Morgan County Schools reported in a letter posted on Facebook that they and the Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department have received confirmation that an individual associated with the Berkeley Springs High School volleyball team has tested positive for COVID-19. Additional team members have been tested for the virus with results pending.
Those identified as having been in close contact are being told to quarantine for 14 days. All volleyball-related activities are suspended until at least September 16.
School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said on Friday, September 4 that all of the girls on the volleyball team were quarantined.
Berkeley–Morgan County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Kevin McLaughlin said that the team’s coaches were also told to quarantine. The quarantine began as of Tuesday, September 1. The quarantine was due to the type of contact in the sport per state school COVID-19 guidelines. Dr. McLaughlin noted that if a person had direct contact with the positive individual that they’d be quarantined for 14 days.
Tuttle wouldn’t comment on whether the positive individual was a student, teacher, coach or volunteer. A posted letter was worded that the positive case was an individual “associated with the team.” The wording is to protect the person’s privacy, at the advice of Health Department officials, she noted.
In the letter, county school officials said that the Health Department has worked closely with high school administrators and the individual that tested positive to identify anyone that may have potentially had close contact with them including team members, faculty, family and friends.
The Berkeley-Morgan County Health Department has been working to notify those that were known to be in close contact with the individual. If there’s a possibility that they have been exposed, they’ll get a phone call.
Contact tracing and testing takes time and there are low, medium and high levels of contact, officials said in the letter.
Superintendent Tuttle said that the positive COVID-19 case doesn’t impact the reopening of Morgan County Schools on Tuesday. School officials will follow the metrics from state officials that will be posted on Saturday, September 5 as to their reopening unless things change with more COVID-19 cases developing. If that would occur, local school officials would follow the guidance of the Health Department.
Superintendent Tuttle and Dr. McLaughlin said in the letter that they’ll take the needed actions to protect the safety and well-being of students and staff. They also stressed that the community should protect each other by wearing face coverings and practicing social distancing and proper hygiene to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. McLaughlin said that multiple sports teams in West Virginia are being affected by positive COVID-19 cases and having their games and practices cancelled. This was the first for Morgan County.