Multiple students in Greater Latrobe School District have been diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) since the start of the school year, superintendent Dr. Georgia Teppert announced in a letter posted Wednesday to the district’s website.

“At this time, we have had three students diagnosed with COVID-19 and one presumed positive,” Teppert wrote. “No additional staff members have received positive diagnosis.”

Two GLSD employees tested positive for the virus days before the district was set to begin fall classes.

The district did not release information regarding which schools within the distrct the students who tested positive for COVID-19 attend.

“Please note that while we have an obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all members of our community, we also have an obligation to protect the privacy of individuals affected by this virus,” the letter reads.

Teppert’s letter indicates any students who were identified as having been in “close contact” with a student who tested positive have been contacted.

“Unless you have been personally contacted by the Westmoreland County Department of Health, a Greater Latrobe School District Pandemic Coordinator, or a Greater Latrobe School Nurse, we can reasonably assure you that your child has not been identified as a ‘close contact’ of a positive case,” according to the letter.

Any individuals who were identified as close contacts of the positive cases were notified and quarantined, according to the letter.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health defines a “close contact” as an individual who was within six feet of a positive case of COVID-19 for a duration of longer than 15 consecutive minutes.

In response to the positive tests and following guidance from a medical expert panel, the district is “encouraging our elementary classrooms to take morning and afternoon breaks outside to further assist with social distancing. The continued implementation of other safety measures, such as frequent hand washing and the wearing of face coverings will also continue. Secondary students will continue to utilize the outdoor spaces throughout the day, especially during lunch and study halls.”

The GLSD school board voted by a 6-2 margin on last week to provide a blended instructional model, in which all K-12 students have the choice to attend school five days a week in a brick-and-mortar setting, or choose to participate full time in the district’s online program. The updated instructional model will begin Monday, Sept. 28, with all social distancing and face covering requirements still in full effect.

The district encourages any students experiencing any symptoms of illness to stay home and consult with a medical provider.

“Our school nurses are working closely with local medical providers to help ensure that our school community remains as healthy as possible,” Teppert wrote. “Your cooperation in following up with appointments, sharing information with our nurses and reporting any positive cases of COVID-19 within your family or close contacts is greatly appreciated.”

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