Testing continues after COVID outbreak at Hatfield Elementary School

  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer 
Published: 11/17/2021 4:15:27 PM

HATFIELD — After three additional positive COVID-19 cases at Hatfield Elementary School on Monday, either through tests or parent reports, no more new cases have turned up since, interim Superintendent Michael Wood said on Wednesday.

The school has had a total of 19 positive cases since Nov. 10, but none were found during testing on Tuesday or Wednesday. Wood said about 50 students and faculty were tested Tuesday.

By the end of the week, additional testing, with assistance from the Massachusetts National Guard, should be complete, with the regular pool testing returning prior to Thanksgiving, Wood said. Pool testing includes taking 10 shallow nasal swab samples and placing them into a single test tube, where they are collectively examined. 

Wood said the school has done pool testing every Tuesday, but on Thanksgiving week it will do the testing on Monday, instead.

“We want results back before they go off for another four-day weekend,” Wood said.

Though 19 COVID-19 cases are at the elementary school, the town has counted only five new active COVID-19 cases since Nov. 8, according to a message sent to residents from COVID-19 Coordinator Claudia Sarti.

Wood said the discrepancy comes from student reporting and staff reporting that includes non-Hatfield residents. 

During the Select Board meeting Tuesday, Sarti also attributed the higher numbers at the school to people who don’t live in town. Board Chairwoman Diana Syznal said even if not counted toward Hatfield’s numbers, people should know about the presence of the virus in town.

“I think what people want is information, and I think they should get that,” Szynal said.

Board member Edmund Jaworski said he wants to give the community information if there’s an outbreak, so the outbreak can be controlled and the town can be protected.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com. 

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