masthead_37.jpg
Local NPR for the Cape, Coast & Islands 90.1 91.1 94.3
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Local News

Falmouth High School Students Dismissed After Positive COVID-19 Test

Students were dismissed from Falmouth High School on Monday after a member of the community tested positive for COVID-19. All learning will be remote until Friday. 

Merrick Kehoe, 16, was in her sports and society class when an announcement came over the loudspeaker: all students would be dismissed at 10:45 a.m.

“It was crazy, a little hectic,” she said. “Everybody was nervous because no one knew what was going on. “

But Lori Duerr, superintendent of Falmouth Public Schools, said the school had been preparing for this kind of event.

“I mean, the system worked,” she said. “We were able to quickly do the contact tracing. … We are prepared, which is comforting.”

Those who came in contact with the unidentified community member were immediately isolated in the auditorium. They’re are being asked to quarantine for 14 days, while the rest of the community can return to school for a hybrid learning model on Friday.

Although not all students and staff were exposed, Duerr said the school doesn’t have enough staff to cover all the classes to keep the school open. 

Erik Larrey, 16, said students might still be nervous to return, even though he has faith in the school’s management. 

“They got it under control for how it is, but I feel like because of how high tensions are and how a lot of other people at the school are nervous about it, it might kind of snowball and get bigger,” he said.

On Sunday, federal health officials forecasted a post-Thanksgiving spike in coronavirus infections and deaths.

Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said travelers “have to assume that you were exposed and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week.”

“It is a little scary because we don’t want to be shut down again but that’ll have to happen if more cases come up,” said 17-year-old Sydney Sevigny.

The school is asking students tested for COVID-19 to report the results to Jennifer Reissfelder, the district’s public health nurse. She can be reached any time at jreissfelder@falmouth.k12.ma.us or 774-392-6477. 

For his part, Erik Larrey, a junior, said he’s eager to get back into the school building to avoid more remote learning.

“Even with the risk of getting COVID, I’m willing to take that. I don’t know if my parents are really going to be OK with that," Larrey said, "but I might have to talk to them about it."