Since school started on Aug. 31, the Salem City School Division has had three coronavirus cases. They involve two Salem High School members and one South Salem Elementary School member. To ensure privacy, individuals and their positions are not being identified.
As soon as the schools had proper confirmation, letters were sent to parents. The first letter released on Sept. 7 said, in part, “A member of our Salem High School family has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The last day the person was on school premises was September 1. The local health department has determined there was no known exposure to students or staff while at school.
A letter sent on Sept. 14 stated, “This person has not been inside the high school during the day at all this school year but has participated in an after-school activity, the last time being on September 8. Based on our contract tracing efforts, as guided by the Virginia Department of Health, there was no known exposure to students or staff while this individual was on school property.”
Another letter sent that day said, “A South Salem Elementary School member has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The last day the person was on school premises was September 3. The local health department has determined there was no known exposure to students or staff while at school.”
Roanoke County resident Brittany Webb has a son in the fourth-grade and a daughter in the ninth-grade. “When I first heard the news, my first thought was I hope everyone is okay. Salem City Schools are encouraging students to wash their hands often, use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing. I am doing the same with my children at home. The best thing all of us can do right now is listen to the health professionals,” she said.
School officials have conferred with Dr. Molly O’Dell and followed the proper protocols established by her office and the division. Because the local health department determined there was no known exposure at either school, no one was quarantined.
The Salem Times Register will update this story if more information is provided.