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K.A. Brett School in Tamworth recorded its first case of COVID-19 last Friday. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONWAY — Pine Tree School in Center Conway has its first reported cases of COVID-19. And in Tamworth, SAU 13 also has its first confirmed case of the coronavirus after a positive test at K.A. Brett School last Friday.

At Pine Tree, the two individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus may have contracted it from an outside-school activity.

This means as many as 50 students across the Conway School District, MSAD 72 and local charter schools will have to quarantine and do remote learning for the next two weeks.

Superintendent Kevin Richard said Conway principals received calls over the weekend from parents about “an issue with an outside group,” which led to educators compiling a list of people who may have been affected by the event, which Richard did not divulge.

Richard also did not disclose whether the diagnosed people at Pine Tree are students or staff or both. But he said students from within the district who may have been in contact with the individuals started remote learning Monday. The positive cases were determined last Saturday.

“Where it becomes tricky is if this thing spreads,” Richard said. 

The Pine Tree cases mark the fifth and sixth cases in the school district within the past 28 days. Kennett High School has had two cases, including one last Friday. Due to that exposure, close to 50 people will have to quarantine.

The latest group that will quarantine was sent home with Chromebooks and will spend their school days until Dec. 1 doing remote learning.

The second case across the district was at Conway Elementary School, announced Oct. 20. The person had to self-quarantine until Nov. 3. The third case, at John H. Fuller Elementary, was announced Oct. 29. 

“Overall, we’re still pretty fortunate,” Richard said. “This is just a reminder that anytime you do anything outside of the house, you have to be overly careful. We have to remain vigilant if we want to keep our schools open.”

While there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases statewide, face-to-face learning will continue in the Conway School District.

Richard meets every Tuesday with his administrators along with Dr. Rich Laracy from the Saco River Medical Group and Dr. Wenda Saunders from Memorial Hospital to review where the district stands. The state has not set a figure on when a school should close.

Of towns contained within SAU 9, Albany has a total of 1-4 cases, zero active; Bartlett has 10 cases, 1-4 active; Chatham, 1-4 cases, zero active; Conway, 50 total cases (up from 44 on Friday), nine active (up from six on Friday); and Eaton, Hart’s Location and Jackson all report zero total cases, none active.

Meanwhile, SAU 13 Superintendent Meredith Nadeau said that following the positive COVID test at the K-8 Tamworth school, "we are all following the necessary contact tracing protocols.”

SAU 13 encompasses the Brett School as well as Freedom Elementary School in Freedom and Madison Elementary School in Madison.

Nadeau and Tamworth school officials notified families of the virus in a letter sent out on Friday. “We’ve been very fortunate in SAU 13,” Nadeau said. “We know the number of transmissions throughout the state is starting to spread. We all need to continue to be thoughtful and careful in actions.

“The staff, students and families have been amazing,” she added. “Everyone is being so thoughtful about doing the right thing in these stressful times.”

Tuesday was actually a day of celebration within the SAU as Madison Elementary School celebrated 50 days of face-to-face school instruction by taking on a 1950s theme throughout the day.

“These sort of successes need and deserve to be celebrated,” said Nedeau. “I’m grateful for every day we have in school. We hope to be able to continue to meet the needs of the children for as long as possible.”

As of Tuesday, on the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 Schools Dashboard (tinyurl.com/y3uop7yu), the level of transmission among schools in the Granite State was listed as “substantial.” New cases per 100,000 over the past 14 days stood at 275.6. New hospitalizations per 100,000 over 14 days was 1.8 percent. 

According to DHHS, as of Monday, there have been 15,029 confirmed coronavirus cases in the Granite State, including 500 deaths. For the fifth consecutive day, more than 300 new positive tests (358) were reported, including seven in Carroll County.

Of towns contained within SAU 13, Albany has a total of 1-4 active cases, nine total; Madison has 10 cases, 1-4 active; and Tamworth, seven total cases, 1-4 active.

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