An individual at Milton High School recently tested positive for COVID-19, according to a memo from Principal Jeremy Bilhorn emailed to parents Monday afternoon.

According to the memo, the school was notified on Monday.

District Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator Kari Klebba told the Milton Courier: “Due to HIPAA and FERPA laws, we can only say it was an individual at the high school.”

In the email to parents, Bilhorn said: “Through our contact tracing protocol, we have identified and notified all families whose students have likely had close contact with the individual who tested positive.”

Klebba specified both people identified as having shared a space with the individual, but with low-risk of transmission, and people identified as potential close-contacts have been contacted.

“The county health department will be in contact with close contacts on their next steps and will advise each individual on a case-by-case basis when they can return to the building,” she said. “Any student that needs to quarantine will be able to shift to virtual learning until their return date.”

Bilhorn, in the memo, said: “We have been following our daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols throughout the building, including the areas that the individual used over the past several days, so that we can prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are also in contact with the Rock County Health Department and will take any additional steps necessary to protect the health of our students and staff.”

When asked if other positive cases had been identified within the school district, Klebba said: “We are aware of an adult individual who worked at East Elementary and tested positive for COVID-19 in early September. Working with the Rock County Health Department during that investigation, it was determined that there were no close contacts due to the individual’s limited contact with staff/students and their adherence to county guidelines regarding mask protocol and social distancing. Those who had been in a shared learning space or environment with the individual were notified. Per the county, no other students or staff needed to quarantine.”

Commenting on what would close a school or classroom, Klebba said: “We have, and will continue to be in close contact with the Rock County Department of Public Health. They investigate each situation on a case-by-case basis. We will follow their recommendations and guidance should it be necessary to transition a classroom or school to virtual learning. Their decision tree is available on their website or in or COVID-19 Family Communications on the Milton Forward website.”

The Milton Forward plan asks: “Is the school absentee rate due to COVID-like illness above 10 percent?”

Other considerations include absentee data, staffing levels, school building limitations, vulnerable populations, the supply of PPE, whether additional steps can be taken to increase physical distancing and if the nursing/health staff to handle ill students is adequate.

In the memo, Bilhorn said, “Anyone who needs medical care should call their healthcare provider to report an illness or exposure to COVID-19 prior to seeking care. We ask that you notify the school office if your student begins to experience symptoms.

“We also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart from others, and regularly washing your hands.”

The Rock County COVID-19 Data Dashboard for School Districts gives the number of COVID-19 cases aggregated by school district boundaries. The weekly update was last done Sept. 16 and shows the estimated number of active cases of COVID-19 per 10,000 people is 16.18. The cumulative number of cases is 174. The previous report, updated Sept. 9, showed 14.15 estimated active cases per 10,000 people and the cumulative number of cases was 152.

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