Fort River School employee tests positive for COVID-19

  • Fort River Elementary School GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/1/2020 10:53:41 AM

AMHERST — A staff member at Fort River Elementary School has tested COVID-19 positive, according to a letter sent to the Amherst Regional Public schools community Thursday.

“Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe, so we have been planning for this scenario during our reopening planning process,” Superintendent Michael Morris, Principal Diane Chamberlain and nurse manager Jill Conselino wrote in the letter.

The letter states that areas where the staff member worked are being sanitized or closed off for a deep cleaning, and the district is supporting the person “as they navigate this stressful experience.”

With all-remote learning taking place, no students have been in the building, and other staff members who have been on site have been following a series of safety protocols aimed at stemming the spread of infection, including wearing face coverings, regularly washing their hands and keeping at least six feet apart.

But those who may have been in close contact have been notified privately and will be self-quarantining for two weeks from the date of their last exposure to the person, whether or not they get a positive or negative test result.

“We are also following all Department of Health protocols, including collaborating with our local board of health to complete contact tracing,” the letter states.

The COVID-19 positive case comes a day after the schools announced that in-person learning, which had been scheduled to begin this week, is being postponed due to a rise in infections in Amherst, including 28 cases among University of Massachusetts students.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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