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Boulder Valley substitute not showing symptoms after cruise with people who had COVID-19

Boulder County Public Health confirmed they are not treating this as a potential case of COVID-19.

BOULDER, Colo. — A substitute at Centaurus High School, with the Boulder Valley School District, was on a cruise last month with people who tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter from the school. 

The school sent the letter, addressed to families and school staff, on Wednesday “out of an abundance of caution."

“We learned today that this individual has been notified by a cruise line that there was a small cluster of COVID-19 cases on a cruise they took in the middle of February,” Principal Daniel Ryan wrote.

The district told 9NEWS that the substitute is a man.

According to Boulder County Public Health, he was on a Diamond Princess cruise ship, but a statement from Princess Cruises, sent to 9NEWS by the health department, indicated this is not the same ship that was quarantined near Japan early last month. The cruise went to Mexico, sailing roundtrip out of San Francisco from Feb. 11 to Feb. 21.

Ryan emphasized that the staff member has not experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, a new strain of coronavirus, and Boulder County Public Health confirmed they are not treating this as a potential case of COVID-19.

County health department spokesperson Chana Goussetis said he has not met the criteria for coronavirus testing because he has not displayed symptoms. Goussetis said this is in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The substitute has been at the school in the last five days but will not be permitted to return until the end of a 14-day exposure window, the school said. Boulder County Public Health told 9NEWS that they know the man has not shown symptoms in the last 12 days, meaning he is near the end of the monitoring window.

The district has also been in contact with state health officials about the situation.

Eleven Americans have died because of COVID-19, but there have not yet been any confirmed cases of the virus within Colorado.

Gov. Jared Polis announced earlier this week that state agencies would coordinate to combat the coronavirus.

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This is the full letter sent by the school:

March 4, 2020

Dear Centaurus Families and Staff,

The safety of our students and staff is our top priority.

Out of an abundance of caution we want to notify you of a situation with a substitute staff member, who has been working at Centaurus for the past 5 school days.

We learned today that this individual has been notified by a cruise line that there was a small cluster of COVID-19 cases on a cruise they took in the middle of February.

The individual has not experienced any symptoms of the virus. Based on what we know about this disease to date, it is extremely unlikely that someone would transmit the virus without having symptoms. In fact, the CDC guidance states that as long as the person is not symptomatic they can continue to work, however, as a precaution, we will not be allowing the staff person to return to work until the 14-day exposure window has passed.

While we do not believe there is a significant risk of our students getting sick, we are dedicated to doing everything possible to protect our students and to keep you informed. BVSD has been updating resources about Coronavirus and staying healthy here.

We will continue to monitor the situation and we will let you know if there are any updates. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns about Coronavirus in general, call CO-Help at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org, for answers in English and Spanish. You may also review local information at www.boco.org/COVID-19.

Regards,

Daniel Ryan, Principal

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