Gomes Elementary School Teacher Tests Positive for COVID-19
A teacher at Alfred J. Gomes Elementary School in New Bedford has tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently quarantining.
The teacher tested positive Tuesday and has not been in the building at 286 South Second Street since Friday, said Arthur Motta, communications director for the New Bedford Public Schools.
"We immediately notified the City of New Bedford Health Department and the contact tracing process was implemented. Close contacts, as defined by the Massachusetts DESE COVID-19 Protocols, were notified and are now working remotely. The individual has not been on campus since Friday and will remain quarantined for 14 days. The daily protocol of disinfecting was also doubled, with an additional round of cleaning and disinfecting," Motta said in an email.
Mayor Jon Mitchell told WBSM's Barry Richard today that Superintendent Thomas Anderson notified all school committee members this morning, and that the school department is committed to transparency and "robust communication" with parents.
Mitchell added that the single infection should not be cause for extreme concern. He said that the district has prepared for the inevitability of positive cases and that clear procedures and protocols are in place to keep everyone safe.
Listen: Mayor Mitchell Discusses Gomes School Covid-19 Case
"It's too big of an organization for that not to happen," Mitchell said of the single case. "We've got 2,500 employees in the school department and over 13,000 students."
Mitchell said parents should feel free to call their children's schools if they have questions or concerns. He also asked families to be free with information if any of their own members test positive.
"If you are a parent and you test positive, or someone in your household tests positive – even if you don't think your child is positive – you should still tell the school department," Mitchell said. "Let them know. The more information the better."
The Gomes school is an "extended learning-time" school so started a week earlier than most other schools. Mitchell said he did not know if the teacher came into contact with students.
The news comes as the city's schools re-open under a hybrid learning model. Motta said the city schools "had an excellent opening today with Cohort A students (about five percent of NBPS students) arriving in person while all others were engaging from home."