COVID cluster at Northwood School
22 cases confirmed, plus 49 more in quarantine
LAKE PLACID — A group of Northwood School students and staff — including members of the school’s boys soccer, boys hockey and girls hockey teams — have been quarantined after a cluster of COVID-19 cases were discovered during routine testing.
As of Monday, there were 22 people connected to the cluster who had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Essex County Health Department. Of those, 15 people are in isolation in this county, and seven people are isolating elsewhere. Northwood School has a policy that allows students to complete their required quarantine at home or with an emergency contact.
Those who have tested positive have reported experiencing either mild symptoms or none at all, according to Northwood School Marketing Director Darcy Norfolk.
“The good news is that they’re all OK,” she said.
Another 49 people — including select students and staff — are in quarantine after they had close contact with a positive case. The school has in-house contact tracing in place, but the school has also been working with the county health department, according to Norfolk.
“As we noted previously, congregate living environments are known to increase the risk of spread,” the county health department wrote in a news release. “The school has been working closely with the Essex County Health Department to ensure all appropriate containment and mitigation steps are taken, including increased testing and surveillance.”
Everyone tested after returning from spring break came back negative, but subsequent bouts of testing revealed the first positive case, according to Norfolk. The cluster at Northwood School was first identified on Sunday, April 25, according to a message sent to students and their families by Northwood School Assistant Head for School Life John Spear. The entire school community was tested for COVID-19 last week. That testing revealed five previously unknown cases. Another round of testing was expected to happen on Tuesday.
Most of Northwood School’s teachers and staff have been vaccinated, and many of the students who are eligible have been as well, according to Norfolk. The school hosted a vaccine clinic late last month. However, those under the age of 16 aren’t eligible to get vaccinated yet, and some eligible students were away from school when the clinic happened.