High school, Widmyer students in quarantine with COVID-19 cases

by Kate Evans

Some 97 Berkeley Springs High School students are currently quarantined as a precaution following contact tracing done on two high school students that tested positive last week for COVID-19.

Students could’ve been exposed to the coronavirus from classes or athletics, School Superintendent Kristen Tuttle said on Monday afternoon.  A couple of those quarantines are related to exposures at James Rumsey Technical Institute.

All Berkeley Springs High School boys’ basketball, girls’ basketball and girls’ softball games and practices have been cancelled for the week.

The quarantines may have potentially included parts of the teams, not the entire team, if the athletes were potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual, Tuttle said.

The school system follows the Morgan County Health Department’s protocols for contact tracing and quarantine, she said. Quarantined students are set to return to school on March 29.

Third case just confirmed

Tuttle said school officials had just gotten word that a third Berkeley Springs High School student tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.  They still have contact tracing to do on that student. If there are other students who test positive, a lot of those may have been in quarantine since last week and additional exposures should be limited.

Berkeley Springs High School closed on Friday, March 19 and moved to remote learning to properly complete contact tracing for the second case.  The school reopened Monday morning for in-school instruction.

Everyone that was possibly exposed to the two positive individuals was contacted. No athletic practices or events were scheduled for Friday, March 19.

Elementary cases

Tuttle confirmed that Morgan County Schools had received notification of a Widmyer Elementary staff member and a Warm Springs Intermediate School staff member testing positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

A whole class of Widmyer students is presently in remote learning due to quarantine. There was no impact on intermediate school students.  Tuttle said that if staff members are exposed to COVID-19 but have been fully vaccinated that they don’t have to quarantine.

“Contact tracing has been completed for both cases.  All people identified as possible exposures to the positive individuals have been contacted,” school officials announced in a Sunday evening Facebook post.

Tuttle said there is no reason to believe that the Widmyer and intermediate school COVID-19 exposures occurred at school.

They’re trying to contain the COVID-19 cases and get kids back to athletics and in-school learning, Tuttle said.

She noted that many places around the state are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases from athletics and not classroom transmission.

Take precautions

Tuttle advised everyone to not get lax and to take precautions to protect each other from the coronavirus.  Keep wearing face masks, wash your hands frequently, stay socially distant and get your COVID-19 vaccinations as the pandemic continues.