Alfredo Andrews Elementary School on St. Croix will revert to virtual learning for the rest of the week due to recent COVID-19 exposures on the campus, the V.I. Education Department announced in a news release issued just after midnight Wednesday.
It is the second school closure this week due to COVID-19 exposure after Claude O. Markoe Elementary on St. Croix closed on Monday to in-person learning until further notice.
The closures come as St. Croix is seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus. As of Tuesday, there were 130 active cases on St. Croix, 35 on St. Thomas and 5 on St. John, according to the Health Department. Four people were hospitalized at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas, and three at Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital on St. Croix, including one on a ventilator.
Two positive cases were confirmed at Alfredo Andrews Elementary over the weekend, with the affected classrooms reverting to virtual learning this week, and then two more cases were confirmed on Tuesday, according to the Education Department’s news release.
The V.I. Health Department’s COVID-19 Taskforce has been notified and officials have begun contact tracing, the release stated. The department will conduct drive-through COVID-19 testing for students and teachers of the impacted classrooms from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1 at the front entrance of the school.
Meanwhile, Joseph Gomez Elementary School will remain closed on Wednesday and will revert to virtual learning for all students for the remainder of the week as the school mourns the loss of paraprofessional Kima Lloyd-Jarvis, who died on Monday, the Education Department said in a separate news release.
Normal, in-person operations are expected to resume for K-3 and special education self-contained students of Joseph Gomez on Monday, Oct. 4, the department said.
Alfredo Andrews Elementary also is expected to return to normal, in-person operations on Monday, Oct. 4. The campus will be thoroughly sanitized by CDC-approved products before it reopens, the Education Department said.
During the campus closure, students may pick up breakfast and lunch between 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the John H. Woodson Jr. High School, the Education Department said. School bus service to and from Alfredo Andrews will be suspended during the closure.
Claude O. Markoe families may pick up breakfast and lunch at the Arthur A. Richards modular campus from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday, the department said.
The Education Department reminds employees that if they are sick, they must remain at home and seek guidance from the Virgin Islands Department of Health or a private healthcare provider. If anyone within a household has tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19-related symptoms, children in that household should not attend in-person classes. All members of the household must remain in quarantine until negative COVID-19 test results are received or all members have been cleared by the Health Department.
To knowingly expose others to COVID-19 is punishable by fines and imprisonment.
COVID-19 vaccines are free and readily available in the U.S. Virgin Islands. To schedule an appointment, call 340-777-8227 or visit the Department of Health website.
Walk-ins also are accepted at the territory’s Community Vaccination Centers.
St. Croix’s Community Vaccination Center is at the Nissan Center in La Grande Princesse, adjacent to the Honda Dealership and The Paint Shop, on the same side of the street as Food Town.
On St. Thomas, the Community Vaccination Center is at the Community Health Clinic on the second floor at the Schneider Regional Medical Center.
The Health Department also urges residents to continue following the safety protocols that have been urged since the beginning of the pandemic: practice social distancing, wear a mask when in the company of others outside of those in your household, clean frequently used areas thoroughly, and wash your hands often with soap and warm water.
Virgin Islanders can report a suspected case of COVID-19 by calling 340-712-6299 or 340-776-1519. Further information is available online at the department’s website.
For more information about symptoms and what to do if exposed to COVID-19, visit www.cdc.gov.