Philadelphia elementary school halts in-person learning due to COVID spread

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Less than 10 days after reopening for in-person learning, Mayfair Elementary School in Philadelphia is temporarily closing because of multiple COVID cases, officials announced in a letter to parents on Wednesday.

"If your child shared a classroom with any student or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be contacted directly by the PDPH with important information, including the need for your child to quarantine," said officials.

The school will remain closed through April 1.

It is one of 53 schools that reopened to some Pre-K through 2nd graders last Monday.

"All students should participate in digital learning remotely while our school building is temporarily closed," the letter read.

Officials said the entire school will be deep cleaned and disinfected before it is reopened for students and staff.

"We look forward to reopening our school doors for students on Monday April 5th, 2021," the letter read.

The head of the teachers union is calling on the School District of Philadelphia to immediately address its notification and tracing protocol.

The Philadelphia Federation of Teachers union released this statement following Wednesday's announcement:

"Our agreement to allow a return to school buildings is based on adherence to a stringent set of protocol. We have been, and continue to, hold the District accountable to adhering to these critical health and safety protocol.

We need an ongoing, trackable database of positive COVID-19 cases in buildings, and have made this ask of the District. Anecdotally, we have learned from our membership that efforts to trace cases are delayed. This is unacceptable.

The District must immediately address their notification and tracing protocol and must provide a standardized reporting mechanism, including a publicly accessible dashboard.

There is no room for error when mitigating COVID. Testing, notification, and tracing--along with the ongoing vaccination efforts-- are key elements of a multilayered mitigation strategy. Additionally, the District must double down on its efforts to ensure mask compliance. We have been to far too many locations where mask compliance is very problematic.

We want to make sure that when school buildings open they can remain open. We will continue to work tirelessly to safeguard the health and safety of every student and staff member."
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