By Barry Dalton
A member of the Van-Far community has notified the Van-Far school district that they have tested positive for COVID-19. The person had recently attended the Van-Far Elementary School open house on Aug. 21, from 6-7 p.m. Superintendent John Fortney issued a letter to residents on the morning of Aug. 25, asking anyone with coronavirus symptoms to stay home from school.
Fortney said that the district is in regular communication with the health department.
“That’s our go to, and we follow their recommendations. They asked us to make sure people are aware,” Fortney said. “This is another opportunity to educate our families about what to do if you are symptomatic, namely stay home from school.”
The district is continuing to follow its back to school plan.
“We haven’t changed anything since our original return to learn plan,” Fortney said. “We’re encouraging mask wearing, many students are wearing them, and teachers have masks.
The district has provided a mask to every full time employee including bus drivers and custodians.
“We’re telling our teachers that If you can’t socially distance by at least six feet, then you need to mask up,” Fortney said.
The district is also encouraging hand washing but it’s not doing temperature screenings unless a child says they are ill or goes to the nurse.
“We’re not doing the temperatures, a lot of it is because there are people who are asymptomatic,” Fortney said. “It’s something we looked at, but it was too much of a bottleneck at the door.”
Fortney said there is probably a general anxiety about COVID-19 in the community, but he thinks getting back to a routine is the best way to address that.
“When you see a bunch of kids smiling and getting back into the routine it reminds you why we’re all here and it eases people’s concerns.”
Fortney emphasized that anyone experiencing symptoms the following symptoms should stay home from school and contact their doctor: fever of 100 degrees or higher; new cough, difficulty breathing, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea; headache; sore throat; congestions/runny nose, myalgia (body aches); or loss of taste or smell.
“The Van-Far R-1 School District is committed to the safety and security of students and staff,” Fortney wrote in his letter. “We ask for and appreciate the continued support that the community provides in these challenging times.”