UPDATED: A Prince William County fourth-grader and their parent have tested positive for COVID-19, while a teacher’s assistant and her husband are showing symptoms of the disease associated with the novel coronavirus but have been refused tests, according to emails sent to Prince William County students Sunday.
The student who tested positive is a fourth-grader in Sheri Huret’s class at Pennington Traditional School. The student’s parent has been hospitalized for COVID-19, while the student has had a fever of 101 but has had no other symptoms, according to a letter sent to parents of students at Pennington Traditional School and Bennett Elementary.
The family, who was not identified, also has a kindergartener enrolled in Barbara Colley’s class at Bennett Elementary and another child enrolled in Mandy Carrasco’s second-grade class at Pennington Traditional School, the letter said.
At Benton Middle, a teacher’s assistant in Stephanie Floyd’s class has developed symptoms of the COVID-19 “in the last few days,” according to a letter sent to Benton Middle school parents by Principal Joe Graczyk.
The teacher assistant’s husband is also exhibiting symptoms. He returned to the area recently after traveling to Spain and Portugal, the letter said.
The letter said the teacher assistant and her husband were not given tests for COVID-19 because tests are limited.
"According to the impacted staff member, the doctors won’t refer for testing because they are in short supply, and the CDC has advised that patients should only be tested if the results would affect the course of treatment," Graczyk wrote.
"Their doctor also advised them to inform everyone they may have been in contact with out of an abundance of caution. We recommend that you watch for your symptoms of COVID-19 in your children and contact your health provider if you have concerns."
The school division sent emails to families with children at all three schools on Sunday, March 22, to notify them of the confirmed and possible COVID-19 cases, Superintendent Steven Walts said in a statement posted to the school division website.
The Prince William Health District did not reach out to the students’ and teacher assistant’s possible contacts in the schools because officials determined the risk posed to others is “low,” Walts’ statement said.
Walts said he sent the emails to provide the school communities “with all information known to the division, which might enable parents to best protect their children during this unpredictable time.”
“And we have provided notifications even when the Health Department does not,” Walts’ statement said.
Bennett Elementary, at 8800 Old Dominion Drive, and Benton Middle School, at 7411 Hoadly Road, are both in the Manassas area of Prince William County.
Pennington Traditional School, at 9305 Stonewall Road, is a first-through-eighth-grade “traditional school” attended by students residing in western Prince William County.
Prince William County had 18 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 as of Sunday, March 22, according to the Virgina Department of Health.
The Prince William Health District is no longer providing detailed information about its new cases, which have ticked up steadily over the past two weeks, because the county is within Northern Virginia, which has entered a stage of community transmission, according to Dr. Alison Ansher, director of the Prince William Health District.
"We know the virus is in our community. In Northern Virginia, there are pockets of community transmission," Ansher wrote in an email Saturday.
Given the community transmission, Ansher stressed that Prince William residents should continue to follow CDC advice for combatting the spread of the virus, including frequently washing their hands and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.
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