Jefferson High School

Jefferson High School students returned to class Tuesday after a quick switch to remote learning Monday due to the report of a student testing positive for COVID-19.

This is the first positive case among the school community since classes started in late August, said Superintendent Tim Norbeck.

There had been a positive case prior to school starting, he said.

Norbeck said he was notified by the Jefferson County Public Health Department on Sunday about the positive case and was asked to switch to remote learning Monday to give nurses time to complete the necessary contact tracing.

Jefferson County Public Health Department Clinic Coordinator Molly Carey said there were 27 close contacts, representing a mix of ages, and who are now quarantined.

So far, the mode of transmission remains undetermined, said Carey.

Carey was also unsure as of press time if this case would affect the other schools in Jefferson County.

Close contacts are those within six feet (with or without a face covering) for at least 15 minutes starting from two days before illness onset.

Jefferson High School is following the Outbreak Response Plan offered by Gov. Steve Bullock and the health department, which provides protocols for various situations, such as a suspected case or a confirmed case. One tool includes providing the health department with seating charts to aid with contact tracing, said Norbeck

Norbeck said that students were able to return Tuesday because the positive result came on the weekend and there had been no school on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The school is routinely cleaned thoroughly on Friday, following COVID-19 protocols, and in this case, it was done again on Monday, said Norbeck.

If a positive case came in the middle of the week, the number of days on remote would be dependent upon the length of time it would take to complete the contract tracing and cleaning protocols, said Norbeck.

The quick switch to remote learning also gave the school a chance to see what areas need work in the event that teachers and students need to do it again, said Norbeck.

In this case, there was an 86% attendance rate and some folks still needed computers, he said.

Meanwhile, it is homecoming week and the scheduled activities, to include the football game Friday against Sweet Grass County, will proceed as planned, said Norbeck.

Carey said the county picked up another positive case on Tuesday, but was also able to move one person to the recovered category, leaving the county with three positive cases and a cumulative total since March of 47. She declined to say if the new positive case was related to the one at JHS.

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