More than 800 students told to quarantine in Cherry Creek district; a school's 6th grade moved to online class

District lists more than 37 confirmed cases, handful of others with symptoms

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Scroll down for a complete list of confirmed cases, quarantines, and class or group dismissals in Cherry Creek School District through Sept. 15.

The entire sixth grade at Falcon Creek Middle School was moved to online classes through Sept. 11 after a student exhibited “major COVID-19 symptoms” after exposure to a person who tested positive, according to a letter from the Cherry Creek School District.

The grade's temporary closure of in-person class came as confirmed cases in the school district climbed to more than a dozen and other schools saw incidences of symptoms, according to notification letters sent through Aug. 31, when the school year's second week came to a close.

Six teachers and 41 students from Falcon Creek in the east Centennial area were told to quarantine, according to Abbe Smith, district spokeswoman. Across the district, more than 200 students and roughly 30 staff members were told to quarantine as of that time.

As of Sept. 15, confirmed cases rose to 37, and more than 830 students and 90 staff members had been told to quarantine, according to the district's count.

That's out of the district's 55,000 students and 9,000 staff total, "which I think is important context for this," Smith said.

Those who did not receive additional instructions do not need to quarantine, the Falcon Creek letter adds.

“Due to restrictions in (state public-health department) guidance, the number of teachers needing to quarantine in this situation will make it operationally impossible to maintain in-person learning for all of 6th grade,” the letter, dated Aug. 28, says.

Both cohorts A and B — both halves of the grade, which attend school on different days — were moved to online, or remote, class. That includes 182 students total, according to Smith.

The school district's “blended” reopening plan for grades six through 12 put half of students in school Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with the other half attending Thursdays and Fridays.

The student exhibiting symptoms is in cohort A and was last at school on Aug. 26, the letter says. In-person classes are to resume the week of Sept. 14.

The state public-health department lists “major symptoms” of COVID-19 as feeling feverish or having chills, a temperature of 100.4 degrees or greater, loss of taste or smell, new or unexplained persistent cough, or shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

The district has also seen numerous confirmed COVID-19 cases, but not all have resulted in classroom-wide or grade-wide closures of in-person class.

“Each investigation takes into account individual factors of each situation,” said Ashley Richter, Tri-County Health Department's communicable disease epidemiology manager. Tri-County's territory includes the Cherry Creek district.

Richter added: “The schools apply our (and state public-health department) guidance … to manage the individual situations at the school, as they are the experts and have firsthand knowledge of setups and movement within the school.”

The state public-health department's guidelines for when one student is confirmed to have COVID-19 say a “class (or) cohort stays home for a 14-day quarantine,” under the July 30 guidance for responding to cases in schools.

When one teacher or staff member is confirmed as infected, all “close contacts (students, teachers, and staff) must quarantine” and the “classroom (or) cohort must quarantine if the teacher has a confirmed case,” the guidance says.

But the department told Colorado Community Media that the guidance is “designed to provide school districts and our local partners with recommendations that can be applied to a number of different situations. Ultimately, procedures are determined locally.”

The department also recommends that when students or staff who are sent home have new symptoms and had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 — or when students or staff have a fever and any other major symptom — then classmates, the relevant cohort and other in-school contacts should be dismissed and should follow quarantine precautions.

Other cases in Cherry Creek district

According to letters sent to families and provided to Colorado Community Media, and according to Smith, the following schools and programs also have students or staff that have tested positive for COVID-19 or have shown symptoms.

Expulsion Program (west Aurora)

• Two students exhibiting major COVID-19 symptoms.

• Date of letter: Aug. 28.

• Quarantines or closures: Moving the Expulsion Program to online class through Sept. 9, affecting roughly 19 students. Two students and two staff members were told to quarantine.

The Cherry Creek School District Expulsion Program provides educational services for middle- and high-school students who have been expelled from school.

Eaglecrest High School (east Centennial area)

• Confirmed cases: Up to three.

• One student tested positive, a first letter says. A second letter says two students in same household tested positive and were last at school Aug. 19, but symptoms presented several days after that.

• Dates of letters: Aug. 27; Aug. 28.

• Quarantines or closures: No expected impact to other students or staff.

Cottage Preschool (southeast Denver area)

• A staff member exhibited symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and was told to quarantine.

• Date of letter: Aug. 27.

• Quarantines or closures: Staff member did not come in close contact with students or staff.

Smoky Hill High School (south Aurora, east Centennial area)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• A student tested positive.

• Date of letter: Aug. 27.

• Quarantines or closures: No expected impact to students or staff.

Prairie Middle School (west Aurora)

• A student exhibited symptoms after exposure to a positive case.

• Date of letter: Aug. 27.

• Quarantines or closures: No expected impact to students or staff.

Overland High School (west Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: Two.

• A student tested positive and last attended school Aug. 19, a first letter says. A student exhibited symptoms after exposure to a positive case, a second letter says. A staff member tested positive and was last at school Aug. 28, a third letter says.

• Dates of letters: Aug. 25; Aug. 27; Aug. 31.

• Quarantines or closures: Two students quarantined after coming in close contact — within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer — with the first student. No expected impact to students or staff from the second student's symptoms. Students who were in cohort B classes with the staff member were told to quarantine through Sept. 11. One staff member and 66 students were told to quarantine.

Holly Hills Elementary and Holly Ridge Primary (southeast Denver area)

• Confirmed cases: Two.

• A Holly Ridge student tested positive. Another Holly Ridge or Holly Hills student tested positive and was last at school on Sept. 4.

• Date of letters: Aug. 27; Sept. 11.

• Quarantines or closures: Quarantined a second-grade class of 15 students and its teacher. The second case was expected to have no impact on others.

Cherry Hills Village Elementary School

• Confirmed cases: Up to three.

• A student exhibited major symptoms after exposure to a positive case. Another student tested positive as of Sept. 1. from a third-grade class that was already quarantined. A third student also tested positive.

• Date of letters: Aug. 27; Sept. 1; Sept. 10.

• Quarantines or closures: Quarantined a third-grade class of 20 students and its teacher. The second student who tested positive in that same class was expected to have no impact on others. The third student caused two staff members and 19 students to quarantine, which includes a fourth-grade class, and the district listed also listed three students put in online class.

Summit Elementary School (southeast Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• A student tested positive and was last at school Aug. 26.

• Date of letter: Aug. 30.

• Quarantines or closures: Quarantined one second-grade class, including 13 students, and three staff members.

Thunder Ridge Middle School (east Centennial area)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• A teacher tested positive and was last at school Aug. 21, but the symptoms presented several days after that.

• Date of letter: Aug. 29.

• Quarantines or closures: No expected impact to students or staff.

Cherry Creek High School (Greenwood Village)

• Confirmed cases: Six specifically listed, with "several" others also confirmed.

• A student or staff member tested positive and was last at school Aug. 25. Another student and a staff member tested positive as of Sept. 3. A student who attends Cherry Creek High School, and the Cherry Creek Innovation Campus in the central Centennial area, also tested positive. Two more students tested positive and were last at school on  Sept. 9. "Several" Cherry Creek High School 12th grade students in cohort A also tested positive and were last at school on Sept. 9. 

• Date of letters: Aug. 29 (first case); Sept. 8 (Creek and CCIC student case); Sept. 14 (two students); Sept. 15 (several seniors).

• Quarantines or closures: Students who were in class with the first case were told to quarantine through Sept. 8; six teachers and 58 students were told to quarantine. There was no expected impact from the second student case, according to Smith. A staff member and 64 cohort A students were told to quarantine related to the staff member case, according to Smith. The Creek and CCIC student's case was expected to have no impact on others. The fifth and sixth student cases caused eight staff members and 100 students to quarantine. The "several" seniors' cases "have been tied directly to students attending off-campus parties the last two weekends," the district said in a letter.

Under state guidelines, the latest group of cases is considered an outbreak, the district said. As a result, 14 staff members and 146 cohort A students were told to quarantine through Sept. 23.  The remaining 1,585 students in cohort A must move to online classes through Sept. 23. Those students are not quarantined and
are allowed to participate in sports and activities. Cohort B students were not impacted as of Sept. 15, the letter said.

As of Sept. 16, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's map of outbreaks did not yet show Cherry Creek High School, so it is unclear how many of the seniors tested positive. 

Grandview High School (far southeast Aurora, east Centennial area)

• Confirmed cases: Four.

• A student tested positive and was at school Aug. 20. Two other students tested positive as of Sept. 3. Another student also tested positive.

• Date of letters: Aug. 24; Sept. 3; Sept. 10.

• Quarantines or closures: A “very limited number” of students — eight — were in close contact with the student and were told to quarantine. After the other two cases, nine staff members, one student athlete and 81 cohort B students were told to quarantine, according to Smith. After the fourth student case, two staff members and 23 students were told to quarantine.

Belleview Elementary and Campus Middle schools (Greenwood Village)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• A staff member who supports students in both schools tested positive.

• Date of letter: Aug. 21.

• Quarantines or closures: Five teachers from Belleview and five teachers from Campus were told to quarantine along with two students from Campus. The two schools are adjacent.

Pine Ridge Elementary School (far southeast Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• A case was confirmed in a staff member who works for the Pine Ridge Before and After Care, or day care, program, who was last in the building Aug. 14.

• Date of letter: Aug. 19.

• Quarantines or closures: No students or staff were in close contact.

Options Homeschool Program (building in central Centennial)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One staff member tested positive from the district's Options Homeschool Program, located at Cherry Creek's East Fremont Avenue building near South Jordan Road.

• Date of letter: Aug. 19.

• Quarantines or closures: Two staff members were told to quarantine.

Highline Community Elementary School (west Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: Two.

• A staff member tested positive.  Another staff member tested positive and was last at school on Sept. 11.

• Date of letters: Aug. 26; Sept. 12.

• There was not any close contact between the first staff member and students. The second staff case caused four staff members and 87 students, which includes multiple classrooms, to quarantine.

Sky Vista Middle School (southeast Aurora, east Centennial areas)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• A student tested positive.

• Date of letter: Aug. 26.

• Quarantines or closures: No expected impact to students or staff.

Falcon Creek Middle School (east Centennial area)

• One student exhibited “major COVID-19 symptoms” after exposure to a person who tested positive.

• Date of letter: Aug. 28.

• Quarantines or closures: Six teachers and 41 students told to quarantine. Sixth grade cohorts A and B (182 students total) moved to online class.

Eastridge Community Elementary School, early childhood education (west Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One staff member tested positive as of Aug. 31.

• Quarantines or closures: Six staff members were told to quarantine along with 23 afternoon students, and the district also listed the following: "21 AM students operational cut." That term appears to include students who are temporarily moved to online class due to the "operational impact of those who were quarantined," the district's website says. Those individuals were not exposed to COVID-19.

Horizon Community Middle School (southeast Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One staff member tested positive as of Sept. 2.

•  Quarantines or closures: Five staff members were told to quarantine.

Laredo Middle School (near Aurora-east Centennial border)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One staff member tested positive.

• Date of letter: Sept. 4.

• Quarantines or closures: Two staff members and 14 students were told to quarantine.

Fox Ridge Middle School (far southeast Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One student tested positive.

• Date of letter: Sept. 8.

• Quarantines or closures: The student was expected to have no impact on others.

Altitude Elementary School (far southeast Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One staff member tested positive.

• Date of letter: Sept. 10.

• Qurantines or closures: 19 students, which includes a first-grade class, were told to quarantine.

Cherokee Trail High School (far southeast Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• Confirmed cases: One student tested positive and was last at school on Sept. 4.

• Date of letter: Sept. 10.

• Quarantines or closures: The student case was expected to have no impact on others.

Trails West Elementary School (east Centennial)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One student tested positive and was last at school on Sept. 9.

• Date of letter: Sept. 11.

• Quarantines or closures: Two staff members and 16 students, which includes students from one fifth-grade class, were told to quarantine.

Independence Elementary School (south Aurora)

• Confirmed cases: One.

• One staff member or student tested positive and was last at school on Sept. 9.

• Date of letter: Sept. 14.

• Quarantines or closures: Three staff members and 15 students, which includes students in one fifth-grade class, were told to quarantine. One student was listed as "operationally remote."

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