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Email sent to parents at Queen Creek high school about COVID-19 exposure

Eastmark High School sent a letter to some parents saying their student may have been exposed to COVID-19 last week, saying the county health department investigated

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — Administrators at Eastmark High School in Queen Creek sent an email to some parents, saying their student may have been exposed to COVID-19.

In the letter sent to parents, sent to 12 News anonymously, the school says it learned their student may have been exposed on Aug. 26 or Aug. 27. The school says it was notified on Aug. 28 and alerted the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, which investigated.

The school says the MCDPH "informed us of those who needed to be notified," and the school sent a letter to some parents.

12 News reached out to the school with numerous questions about protocols, what steps the school is taking to minimize risk and what this means for students who received the letter.

"We work with the Maricopa County Department of Health for guidance on reporting positive cases and follow our protocols. All appropriate individuals receive the appropriate notification when necessary," the Queen Creek Unified School District said in response.

The district did not confirm that a student or staff member tested positive for coronavirus. 

"Eastmark High School is following recommendations from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our school," the letter sent to some parents read, in part. "This includes reminding all to stay home when they are sick, wearing a facial covering, and washing your hands regularly. Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air and always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue. As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose."

The full letter sent to those who may have been exposed is below:

Dear Parents:

Late on Sunday night, we learned that your child may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 while at Eastmark High School on August 26/27. We were notified on Friday afternoon, August 28 and immediately contacted the Maricopa County Department of Public Health who informed us they would investigate and contact us with next steps regarding notification. On August 30, Maricopa County concluded their investigation and informed us of those who needed to be notified.

Eastmark High School is committed to implementing measures to protect attendees and staff from exposure to COVID-19 and to make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your child’s health.

The following information comes from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health:

What is it? 

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus that had not been previously identified. People with COVID-19 can have a range of symptoms from a mild cold-illness to severe pneumonia. Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (>100.4°F), cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, chills, sore throat, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose or congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a new loss of taste or smell. 

How is it spread? 

COVID-19 spreads most commonly in the same way as the common cold or flu — through respiratory droplets that are produced when someone coughs or sneezes. The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has communicated that they do not believe that COVID-19 spreads through the air across the room, and that it is easily cleaned off of surfaces using routine disinfectants. 

Am I at risk? 

People who are most at risk are those who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for longer than 10 minutes) with someone who has the infection. According to CDC, risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and even more so for those who are immune-suppressed or have underlying health conditions such as heart, kidney or lung disease, obesity, or diabetes. 

What do I do next? 

People who have been exposed to COVID-19 are at risk of becoming ill for up to 14 days after the exposure. If you haven’t developed symptoms by that time, you are unlikely to develop symptoms from this exposure. However, we also know that COVID-19 is widely circulating in our community, so regardless of this exposure, it is important that you continue to monitor yourself for symptoms consistent with COVID-19. If you develop any symptoms, see your healthcare provider and/or get tested with a PCR test (nose swab). This is the best test to determine if you are currently infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. If you are not sure where to go to be tested, please call 2-1-1 for more information. Quarantine Guidance

Eastmark High School is following recommendations from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in our school. This includes reminding all to stay home when they are sick, wearing a facial covering, and washing your hands regularly. Avoid coughing or sneezing into your hands or in the air and always try to cough or sneeze into a tissue. As much as you can, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

For privacy reasons and in observance of direction received late yesterday evening from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, we are unable to share more about the individual case. Additional information can be found at Maricopa.gov/Covid19.

Thank you for your patience during this challenging time.

Eastmark High School Administration

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