This morning, Friday, March 26, we learned that one student has tested positive for Covid-19.
As we planned for our return to campus in March, we very intentionally added additional Covid testing protocols to the process, knowing that the more testing we do, the more likely we are to find positive cases.
Yesterday afternoon, Thursday, March, 25, Pomfret School conducted a planned round of PCR testing for all members of the school community. This morning, Friday, March 26, we learned that one student tested positive for Covid-19 during this “pool testing” day. We also had one inconclusive test and one invalid test. As a result, we are working through our protocols to do follow-up testing where necessary. If your child is found to be positive, or if our contact tracing process identifies them as a close contact, we will inform you.
To mitigate any potential spread, we have moved back to our distance learning protocol effective immediately. This requires boarding students to stay in their dorm rooms and day students to remain at home until further notice. Today’s classes will be held virtually and faculty members will bring students to the dining hall in family units to pick up meals. In addition, we rescheduled this morning’s chapel service and canceled this afternoon's sports and activities.
We expect these measures to be short lived; once we have completed our contact tracing process, it is our hope that most people will be able to return to in-person learning. Of course, this is predicated on us making sure that Covid is not spreading in the community. We feel confident that the measures and protocols we have had in place since the return of students — physical distancing, proper hygiene, and mask wearing — will prove to be an asset as we confront this situation.
We know from what we have learned at other schools that there is a risk that individuals may be blamed for bringing Covid to campus or for the inconvenience we are facing, and I made it clear this morning that no student — or adult — should be targeted in any way by people who may be upset with what has happened. Pomfret’s school values explicitly call for us to “treat people with respect and compassion,” and to “speak and act with sincerity, honesty, and civility.” I expect that we will do just that.
I want to stress that we are going to be fine; while some students may be quite anxious, we are here to take care of them and to keep them safe. We are addressing the situation professionally and expeditiously with the expectation that we can get back to “normal” as quickly and safely as possible. This morning I told all members of the community that this is not a reason to panic, that this is a speed bump on our journey back to spring. It should also serve as an obvious reminder for us all that Covid is not yet in our rearview mirror.
If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. You have my word that we will do everything we can, as our values call on us to do, “to care for ourselves, the people around us, and the community in which we live.”
Tim Richards P ’15
Head of School