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COVID-19 affects Ridgecroft Preschool and cafeteria

Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Friday, Jan. 22 and contains new information.

AHOSKIE – COVID-19 continues to impact one local school.

Ridgecroft School administration received notification on Tuesday that six staff members were directly exposed to an individual, off campus, who tested positive for COVID-19.

That notification led what the school’s administration referenced as a “difficult but necessary decision” to temporarily close Ridgecroft Preschool for on campus instruction for PreK3 and PreK4 classes through Tuesday, Feb. 2.

The Ridgecroft cafeteria is also closed through Feb. 2.

The individuals who were directly exposed to COVID-19 are at home in precautionary quarantine for 14 days.

“We understand this decision will affect the daily routines of our entire school community, but the limited staff makes it impossible for the preschool or cafeteria to remain open at this time,” stated Russell Johnson, headmaster of the school.

Additionally, Ridgecroft administration received notice on Tuesday that a second student who was on campus last week tested positive for COVID-19. With the help of the Hertford County office of Albemarle Regional Health Services (ARHS), Ridgecroft administration identified several students considered “close contacts” and these individuals have transitioned to online learning as they participate in precautionary quarantine.

School officials were notified on Jan. 12 of a Ridgecroft student who had recently tested positive for the virus. That came on the heels of one student and two staff members who tested positive in mid-December. At the time of that notification, those three individuals had not been on the Ridgecroft campus since school released for holiday break on Dec. 18, 2020.

“We have been closely following the advice of local public health authorities and this is absolutely necessary to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and families,” Johnson stressed.

He noted that Ridgecroft Preschool is a state licensed facility and there are extensive, state mandated requirements for individuals who work inside the facility, making it extremely difficult to find substitute preschool teachers.

“We have known since last spring that every time we step outside our homes, we are at risk of being exposed to COVID-19,” said Johnson. “However, we have more than 300 individuals on campus every day and we have been on campus, in school, for more than 90 days. We are confident the safety measures and COVID-related procedures we have in place have allowed us to be here with minimal interruptions.”

Johnson said Ridgecroft will remain open for all grades K-12 and will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation amongst students and staff on an individual basis. Ridgecroft will also continue to work closely with ARHS and ARHS-Hertford County.

The cafeteria and preschool are scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, Feb. 3.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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