Dear BPS Parents, Guardians, and Staff,
Bridgeport Public Schools is committed to the health and safety of all our students and staff. We have received several questions regarding the measures taken when a positive case of COVID-19 is reported. Lisa Morrissey, Director of Bridgeport Department of Public Health, Lizette Earley RN, Nursing Supervisor and I work collaboratively when Bridgeport Public Schools is notified that a member of our school community has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The affected person is immediately instructed to remain home in self-isolation for 10 days and is provided with additional instructions to follow prior to returning to school. Family members are also instructed to self-quarantine and get tested.
Anyone who is considered a "close contact" with this person will be notified to quarantine by school or local health officials and provided with appropriate steps to take. We have acted with an abundance of caution in all reported positive cases by expanding the number of students and staff who require quarantine. This practice has caused some confusion amongst some staff as well as placed a hardship on operating our schools properly. "Close contact" is not simply being in a room with a positive case for more than 15 minutes. An individual must be within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more of the positive individual. The transition to our hybrid model next week in all schools will increase our mitigation efforts and reduce the number of individuals needing to be quarantined when a positive case is reported.
We evaluate each situation on a case-by-case basis to determine the need for building closure to allow for contact tracing and cleaning. Many times, the individual has not been in the building for two days prior, due to previously being quarantined, having stayed home awaiting test results, or being out of school due to symptoms. In these cases, there may be no close contacts identified and buildings do not need to close. In other cases, the Contact Tracing Team is able to identify any close contacts and have them quarantine immediately, so again there is no need for building closure or additional cleaning measures. In situations where we need more time for contact tracing or an individual has exhibited symptoms in the building, we will decide as to whether the building needs to close and for how long.
Information related to case investigations is confidential. Private health information will not be disclosed by BPS or the Bridgeport Health Department. Health and safety protocols are followed in consultation with Lisa Morrissey, Director of the Bridgeport Health Department, and Lizette Earley RN, Nursing Supervisor.
The safety of our community is our priority. We are closely monitoring the situation and working with Bridgeport Department of Public Health. We will continue to provide you with updates as things change. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Michael J. Testani
Superintendent of Schools
Case: Individual who tests positive for SARS-CoV-2 by laboratory-confirmed PCR or Antigen Test.
Close Contact: Person exposed for 15 minutes or more, cumulative in a 24-hour period, within six feet of a Case.
School setting: classroom, other interior school location, bus stop, bus or other form of transportation, school grounds, or school-related event held at other locations.