NORTH SMITHFIELD – A preschool staff member at North Smithfield Elementary School has tested positive for COVID-19 according to officials from the Rhode Island Department of Health, and several classrooms will now move to virtual learning while the district works to access the situation.

According to a note from Supt. Michael St. Jean shared with NRI NOW, staff is working closely with RIDOH’s COVID-19 Unit to determine who had close contact with the individual.

“Close contact,” is defined as any person who was within 6 feet of an infected person – with or without a mask – for at least 15 minutes or had unprotected direct contact.

RIDOH was notified of the positive test results on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

St. Jean noted that the preschool classrooms will closed until the 14-day quarantine is over.

In a letter to parents and staff, Principal Jennifer Daignault said that anyone who has had close contact with the individual will get a call tomorrow from RIDOH with information and instructions on how to quarantine. All staff and students, she said, should watch for symptoms including a cough, fever and chills, body aches, headaches, sore throat, nausea or vomiting.

“Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home from school, notify the school of their symptoms and contact their healthcare provider for advice,” Daignault said.  “The classrooms, bathrooms or other spaces used by the students and staff will be cleaned before students/staff return in accordance with guidelines from the Center for Disease Control.”

Staff or students with symptoms can call the Pre-K -12 COVID-19 Test Scheduling Service to set up a test free of charge at (844) 857-1814.

Editor’s note: An original version of this story stated that it was a student rather than staff member who had who tested positive for COVID-19, due to a misinterpretation of a communication shared with NRI NOW. We apologize for the error.  

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