Wednesday, July 24, 2024

The Amigos School on Upton Street in Cambridgeport. (Photo: Google)

A new positive Covid-19 case at the Amigos school that moved two in-person classrooms into closure and quarantine – in addition to the three classrooms placed in quarantine in the past two weeks – has closed the school to all in-person classes until Nov. 30, according to principal Sarah Bartels-Marrero in an email sent to the school community late Sunday.

The closing was made with little notice for the parents and caregivers of in-person students to prepare for the anticipated two weeks of remote learning.

The decision to shift to a fully remote model was made by Cambridge Public Schools administration and the city’s Department of Public Health, which noted that while it appears that staff and students outside of the affected classrooms have not been exposed to the virus, the closing was done “out of an abundance of care” for the school community.

It made sense “given the number and nature of positive cases at Amigos School,” said Lyndsay Pinkus Brown, the district’s chief strategy officer, in an email.

“It is important to note that there is no single ‘number’ of cases that informs a decision for a schoolwide shift to remote learning, but an evaluation of the overall situation,” she said, adding that Amigos families were told Sunday and information will be sent to the broader school community message later Monday.

During the closing, the district and health department will work together to conduct contact tracing, notifying people of possible exposure to Covid-19, and recommend testing and self-quarantine procedures, according to the guidelines in the district’s Covid-19 Safety and Facilities manual.

Per the manual, the school building will be off limits for 24 hours, windows will be left open and central heating and air conditioning systems with HEPA filters will move air through the building. Staff in full personal protective equipment will then clean the affected classrooms and all surfaces will be sanitized by using electrostatic sprayers to apply disinfectant.

Like all elementary schools in the district, Amigos invited preschoolers through first-graders, select second- and third-graders, and students in special programs to attend in-person classes as of Oct. 13. Families that did not elect to attend, and students in grades 4 through 12 are enrolled in fully remote learning.

The district reported on its website 12 confirmed Covid-19 cases – seven staff members and five students – since limited in-person learning began. The last date for which data were available was Nov. 12.

Amigos is at 15 Upton St., in the Cambridgeport neighborhood.