Staff members of Peru Community Schools have tested positive for COVID-19 roughly a week before classes are scheduled to resume.
Superintendent Sam Watkins made the announcement Wednesday in a letter posted to the school corporation’s website.
“Please be assured we are following our screening, exclusion, and reporting policies in our PCS school re-opening plan,” the letter said. “We are working closely with the Miami County Health Department and following the CDC guidelines. All areas were contained, professionally sanitized, and disinfected before staff and students could re-enter.”
Watkins told the Tribune on Wednesday that the “small number” of cases came to light after someone who was not an employee of the school corporation but was in contact with staff on school property in preparation for the upcoming school year alerted authorities that he or she had tested positive for the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
Watkins said he requested screenings of those who had been around the person and the positives were reported.
Though school has not yet started, Watkins said he felt disclosing the information, while also making an effort to protect the privacy of the individuals affected, was the right thing to do.
“We are trying to be forthcoming and transparent as we move toward opening,” he said.
That happens on Aug. 6 when roughly 1,900 students are expected to return to class amid rising numbers through the state and county.
Watkins said roughly 100 of those students have opted for the “temporary virtual option” of learning from home offered as part of the corporation’s re-opening plan.
As of Friday’s update from the Indiana Department of Health, the total number of positive cases in Miami County reported since March sat at 247 cases. There were three new cases reported on Thursday and, as of Friday afternoon, there have been 11 new cases reported since Monday.
The seven-day average positivity rate, which is the percentage of positive tests in the number of tests administered, for Miami County was 3.1 percent between July 18 and July 24, the most recent range for which reliable data is available according to the state website.
The total positivity rate for the county since March is 6.8 percent.
The state seven-day positivity rate, one of the factors mentioned by Gov. Eric Holcomb when he announced his mask mandate last week, sits at 7 percent between the same dates.