New Palestine student tests positive for COVID-19 on first day of school, administrators say


NEW PALESTINE, Ind. – A New Palestine High School student who tested positive for COVID-19 attended class on the first day of school, administrators said.

Southern Hancock administrators were notified of the positive test by the Hancock County Health Department. A note from the family’s doctor providing notification of test results inadvertently included an incorrect return-to-school date.

School officials clarified the “incorrect return-to-school date” to CBS4: “The doctor wrote the wrong date on the note. The quarantine should have lasted longer than it did. The student should not have been at school. The parent thought it was safe to return the student to school because of the note the doctor wrote. Then we get a call from our county health department notifying us of a positive test and that student is in our building.”

Hancock Health is reviewing its test notification processes as a result.

The student wore a mask and administrators isolated the individual who tested positive, along with a “small number of close contacts,” according to the district.

Administrators said, if a family wasn’t notified, that means their child was not in close contact with the student.

Classes will proceed as scheduled on Tuesday.

School officials said parents should not send students to school “if they have a confirmed COVID-19 case in their home, if their student has pending test results of a COVID-19 test, or if their student is showing any symptoms of COVID-19.”

From the school’s statement:

Hancock Health is unified with our schools in keeping students, staff, and families safe. Due to the long turn-around times of COVID-19 test results, Hancock Health will be implementing rapid turn-around testing within the next week to help ensure more timely results.

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