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Salem School District student tests positive for COVID-19: ‘Wishing for a swift recovery’

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KENOSHA COUNTY -- A grade school student in the Salem School District has tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the district has canceled scheduled student pickup of materials and supplies. It has also left parents feeling anxious -- wondering if their child might be affected.

The student attends Salem Grade School -- a school that has about 1,000 students. What is not being released is which grade the child is in -- or how they are currently feeling.

"I was completely shocked," said Elizabeth Estrada, a Salem Grade School parent. "Getting that email last night -- my heart dropped."

Estrada has two children who attend Salem Grade School. She told FOX6 News that Friday was their last day in class before transitioning to e-learning; however, a letter to parents about the positive coronavirus case left things at a standstill.

"I think the most difficult part of all of this is everything changes within minutes," said Connie Valenza, Interim District Administrator for Salem School District.

Valenza said she was notified about the positive case by the Kenosha County Division of Health Tuesday night, March 17 -- and immediately notified the school community.

"We're trying really hard to walk that line between informing parents and making sure we are respecting student confidentiality under the law," Valenza said.

In her letter, Valenza informed parents they would receive a second, follow-up notice if there was reason to believe their child may have come into contact with the student who tested positive.

Estrada tells FOX6 News she and her children are not showing any symptoms -- and she did not receive a second letter.

In the meantime, students were scheduled to pick up their Chromebooks and other supplies to begin e-learning on Monday. That plan is now on hold.

"I just hope for the best and that we pull through this and everybody stays safe and healthy," Estrada said.

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to those in adults. They can include, but are not limited to fever, runny nose, and cough. The CDC recommends similar guidelines for children -- such as frequent hand-washing and disinfecting commonly used household items, including toys.

Salem School District note sent to parents

Dear Parents/Guardians

I am sure this is a very confusing time for everybody. Lately, I hardly know where to begin in my communications with you. Just as soon as I had sent today’s update, I received a call from the Kenosha County Division of Health, Public Health Nurse/School Nurse Consultant.

We were notified that a student of ours tested positive for CO-VID 19 (Coronavirus). If you do not receive a second follow-up letter to this one, your student and teachers were likely not in direct contact and therefore are not in the higher risk group. I know that this sounds very alarming, but we have been told that the risk for students who do not have extended contact with this student is low.

We wanted to be upfront and let you know immediately so that you had increased awareness. Symptoms that parents should look for include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. I am sending along a flyer provided by the Kenosha County Division of Health.

We will be cancelling, for now, the scheduled student pick-up of materials and supplies. We may no longer be able to start on-line instruction on Monday as we proposed in my previous letter. I will continue to provide you with updates as we know more.

I have seen such acts of kindness in the recent days and I know that all of us are wishing for a swift recovery for our Salem student. We worry about all our members of the Salem family. We will continue our best efforts to educate, protect, and support our students.

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