COVID Forces Temporary Closure of Valley Regional High School


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ESSEX/DEEP RIVER/CHESTER — Two positive cases of COVID-19 among students at Region 4’s Valley Regional High School forced the school to shutter and resume fully-remote learning for Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. 

“We closed VRHS for two days this week, yesterday and today, to allow for contact tracing and the deep cleaning of the building,” explained Brian White, superintendent of Region 4 Schools, in a statement to CT Examiner. “This decision was made in concert with local health authorities and the State of Connecticut DPH.”

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID, the district is following a hybrid model that would normally close classrooms on Wednesdays.

The closure allows the health departments — in this case Essex and the Connecticut River Area Health District — time to call all students and staff who may have been in contact with the infected students. White said that the extra two days were necessary to ensure that all potential contacts had been alerted, tested and would stay home to prevent any further spread. 

Families of Valley Regional High School students were not notified until Monday that school would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday. All other Region 4 Schools remained open both Tuesday and Wednesday. 

“The biggest lesson we learned from this situation is how critical timely communication between families and our schools is to appropriately managing individual COVID-19 cases in our school community,” said White.

This story has been edited to clarify that with the current hybrid model, Valley Regional High School would normally be closed for classes on Wednesday.