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DPS Learning Center at Southwest Elementary closure extended to Oct. 9

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UPDATE 9/30/20

The Durham County Department of Public Health has shared new information with Durham Public Schools indicating that the DPS employee working at Southwest Elementary School, previously believed at low risk of transmitting COVID-19, may have been infectious. The health department is reaching out to those individuals who may have been in close contact.

The employee in question did not contract COVID-19 at the school; to date there has been no transmission of the virus at a DPS facility. DPS previously closed the Learning Center to allow health officials to perform contact tracing and identify people who were potentially exposed. 

Due to the length of the quarantine and the number of DPS employees unavailable to work, DPS is forced to close the Southwest Elementary Learning Center through October 9. DPS staff will reach out directly to Learning Center families affected by the closure to share a schedule for resuming service to them.

Due to health, employment, and educational privacy laws, we are unable to provide any further information at this time. If we are able to do so, we will as soon as possible. Families with questions about COVID-19 may call the Durham County Department of Public Health at (919) 635-8150.


UPDATE 9/29/20

Southwest Elementary Learning Center closed an additional day; to reopen Thursday

A second DPS employee working at Southwest Elementary School is presumed positive for COVID-19. Initial investigations indicate that the second employee was exposed away from school and was not connected to the previous case.

In consultation with the Durham County Department of Public Health and medical experts at the ABC Science Collaborative, we have been able to determine that the employee was not at work during the likely infectious period and that there is low risk to students and staff. Out of an abundance of caution, DPS will extend the closure of the Learning Center for one day through Wednesday, Sept. 30, in order to safely meet with the staff and share public health information with them.

The DPS Learning Center at Southwest Elementary School will reopen on Thursday, Oct. 1. DPS is continuing to work with the Durham County Department of Public Health.

The feeding program at Southwest Elementary will resume as scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 30.


Original Story 9/28/20

Durham Public Schools has learned of a probable positive case of COVID-19 in an employee working at Southwest Elementary School. We are following state and local guidelines, and the school will be closed until Wednesday, Sept. 30, to allow for contact tracing. Families who have received meals from the DPS Feeding Program at Southwest Elementary may pick up their meals at W.G. Pearson Elementary School instead.

The Durham County Department of Public Health and DPS are identifying individuals who may have come into close contact with the employee, and the health department will reach out to those individuals or, in the case of students, their parents or guardians, to provide guidance on whether they should self-isolate or undergo COVID-19 testing. Close contact is defined by the health department as spending 15 minutes or greater within six feet.

The DPS Learning Center at Southwest Elementary was closed on Monday, Sept. 28, due to a teacher workday; it will remain closed for students and staff on Tuesday, Sept. 29. All visitors, staff, and students at DPS facilities and Learning Centers are screened upon entry and required to wear face coverings. DPS Learning Centers are thoroughly disinfected daily.

The Southwest Elementary Learning Center and the DPS Feeding Program at Southwest Elementary will both reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

Due to health, employment, and educational privacy laws, we are unable to provide any further information at this time. If we are able to do so, we will as soon as possible.