The Virgin Islands Department of Human Services (DHS), today confirmed that it is immediately closing the Kingshill Head Start location because a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. The staff member had no contact with any Head Start family members.
In an abundance of caution, while DHS works with the Department of Health to get other Kingshill staff tested, that facility will remain closed. Other Head Start facilities will continue their normal operations. Additionally, meal distribution to students served through that facility will be postponed until after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, resuming on Tuesday, Jan. 19.
With the notification of the confirmed COVID positive test, Human Services, in conjunction with the Department of Health, has initiated emergency response protocols that include widespread self-monitoring and testing of those who were in direct contact with the impacted staff person, appropriate notifications and continued distancing protocols.
“As cases rise across the nation and in the territory, we are reminded that we must be as vigilant as ever in our personal lives and interactions to continue best practice measures to help keep ourselves, family members and those we work with safe,” said Commissioner of the Department of Human Services Kimberley Causey-Gomez.
The Current Actions Being Taken
- Specific staff members of the impacted unit have been advised and asked to quarantine until they get a negative result from testing.
- DHS has arranged for testing of all impacted persons within the auspices of DHS through the Department of Health.
- Cleaning and sanitization protocols in line with Department of Health and CDC guidance have been initiated.
The department encourages all staff and members of the public to maintain the Center for Disease Control (CDC) best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- Wear your mask (covering your nose and mouth while in the workplace).
- Maintain social distance.
- Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, often.
- Wear appropriate other PPE while in contact with other staff or clients.
- Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol when you cannot your wash hands.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces.
- Share facts, not rumors.
Head Start Contact Information
The DHS-Head Start Program registration process is ongoing through the year. Children must be three years old by Dec. 31. Parents must bring the child’s birth certificate and proof of income that shows the family meets the federal guideline for income eligibility.
Contact Information and Registration Portal
Feel free to create an account if you have not already done so, and apply through Head Start’s online portal (COPA) at https://vihs.mycopa.com/familyPortal/childCare.epl
Questions for the Head Start office can be addressed at 773-1972 on St. Croix or 774-0930 ext. 4200 on St. Thomas.
If someone is experiencing any of the coronavirus symptoms listed on the Department of Health website below, self-quarantine and immediately contact the Department of Health:
o V.I. DOH website: https://doh.vi.gov/
o COVID-19 Hotline: 712-6299 or 776-1519