Methuen High School Teacher Tests Positive for COVID-19

Jen pointed me to this article tonight.  The Lawrence Eagle Tribune is reporting that a teacher working at Methuen High School has tested positive for COVID-19.  Hooray.

This is going to happen everywhere.  Returning to school now is going to be a disaster of life threatening proportions.

Fortunately, while the teachers have gone back to school already, the students have not.  According to the article, classes will start remotely next week and then in early October they will switch to a hybrid model where students will be in the school buildings part of the time and learning remotely the rest.  So it’s very bad news for the teachers in the high school who now have to quarantine, but it could have been worse.

I just hope the teacher who tested positive is okay.  Get well soon, if you’re experiencing symptoms.  If you’re asymptomatic then get rid of the virus soon.

This does not actually affect my family.  We do live in Methuen, but my step kids’ father does not.  At some point, long before I was a part of the equation, it was decided that dad’s address would determine their school district, so my step son goes to school in dad’s town.

Here’s a copy of the article, along with a link.  It was published yesterday and it was written by Bill Kirk.

METHUEN — Just a few days into the new school year, a teacher at Methuen High tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the district to implement quarantines and contact tracing, according to Superintendent Brandi Kwong.

Teachers reported back to school Sept. 1 for professional development, Kwong said. She said the positive test will not impact the start of school for students, which is Sept. 14 for online classes. A hybrid of online and in-person classes starts Oct. 5.

“Protocols were followed and were successful and it will not impact our reopening,” Kwong said. “We worked with the Department of Public Health, the nurse leader and the principal at the high school.”

As a result of the positive case, a number of people who came into contact with the person, including children who have been in the building, have been quarantined.

According to an email obtained by The Eagle-Tribune, at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday Principal Richard Barden reached out to teachers at the high school.

“I have been notified that there is a COVID-19 positive case at Methuen High School,” he said. “If you are identified as a close contact you will be notified by a local board of health or a contact tracer who will explain recommendations for quarantine.”

Barden could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Neil Perry, who serves as chairman of the School Committee as part of his official duties, said protocols were followed informing people who may have come in contact with the teacher.

“We have to expect this,” he said. “It’s a test of how we handle it. … As people go back, we are going to have some cases.”

School Committee member Ryan DiZoglio said he found out about the case from postings on social media Thursday night, after which, he said, “my phone blew up.”

“I got 15 phone calls in 20 minutes,” he said, noting that some came from from teachers who work in other schools, including Comprehensive, Timony, Marsh and Tenney grammar schools.

“A lot of their concern is, ‘Why weren’t we told about this,’ which is ridiculous,” he said. “Teachers are very concerned they had to find out from Facebook.”

He said all teachers in the district should have been notified.

“Not knowing anything is concerning,” he said. “They want reassurance that we are containing it, everything is fine and we can move forward.”

Kwong said she did notify members of the School Committee, but that only teachers at the high school were notified of the positive test.

Jonathan Becker, president of the Methuen Education Association — the union representing teachers — did not respond to a voicemail or email seeking comment.