MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Cumberland Valley School District has announced a high school student tested positive for COVID-19.
In a letter to parents, the school district said administrators learned of a possible positive for the virus on Sunday, but did not receive any additional information until speaking with the student’s family Monday morning.
Superintendent Dr. David Christopher said the Pennsylvania Department of Health never communicated with the district about the student’s positive case.
We reached out to the department on Monday. A spokesperson said they were aware of the letter Dr. Christopher sent out to parents but could not confirm if the student is one of the 12 positive cases in Cumberland County. It is unusual for the state to confirm specific cases due to possible HIPAA violations.
“The state absolutely dropped the 8-ball in this situation,” said Cumberland Valley senior, Logan Van Nostrand, “You’d like to imagine that the state would have absolutely communicated to parents and students well before March 23.”
Administrators said the student’s last day was March 9. Four days later, the student tested positive for COVID-19 on March 13 — the same day schools were closed indefinitely. The student’s family has coordinated with the state Health Department in notifying those possibly exposed, as well as steps moving forward.
“The thing we learned in this whole situation is that communication is absolutely important, and you know, keeping each other informed,” Logan said.
It is believed that the student contracted the virus from a family member.
Cumberland Valley School District said this information is to provide transparency with the community and not to instill panic.
The school district also said facilities were thoroughly cleaned prior to closure and will be cleaned again before staff and students return. They will notify parents if any other positive cases are confirmed while school was in session.
“We have some of the best kids and best parents and families on earth. We’re gonna make it through this,” Dr. Christopher said in a YouTube video to parents and students on March 18.
This information comes at the heels of Governor Tom Wolf’s decision to extend the closure of schools throughout the state by an additional two weeks.