GROVE CITY –Three people “affiliated with” Grove City Area High School have been directed into isolation or quarantine after a student tested positive for COVID-19.
The action was taken in response to a recommendation to the state Department of Health, said district Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey A. Finch.
Finch didn’t release the student’s gender or grade level. But he said the student was not a member of a sports team or the school band.
“And they didn’t ride a school bus,’’ Finch said.
Finch and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Joshua Weaver issued a release last week to district parents of high school students and staff at the high school building of “possible exposure’’ after the student’s positive test. Aug. 31 was the first day of school.
“We didn’t issue a release to parents of elementary school students because they weren’t affected,’’ Finch said.
Federal privacy requirements prohibit identifying the student with the virus or those placed in isolation or quarantine..
There is a difference between the two health practices, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who are exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick, the website said. These people may have been exposed to a disease without their knowledge or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms.
“Just because someone is in isolation or quarantine doesn’t mean they tested positive for COVID,’’ Finch said.
He said the state’s response to the pandemic has given him an education on the reporting requirements for COVID-19. After he learned of the student’s positive test result last week, Finch said he called the Health Department as required.
“Within an hour they called me back,’’ he said.
Once notified of a virus patient by a business or school, the Health Department assigns a case worker, known as a contact tracer, said Maggi Mumma, a Health Department spokeswoman.
From there the tracer gets busy with phone interviews.
“In this situation, they will work with the school district and the person with the virus to determine who they came in contact with in the school who might be susceptible to the virus,’’ Mumma said. “The identify of the person with COVID-19 will never be revealed. We will ensure them of the confidentiality of that information.’’
If someone with COVID-19 came closer than 6 feet to an individual with COVID-19, it is considered “close contact,” which leaves individuals at risk of contracting the virus.
Mumma could not comment on specifics of Grove City’s case, she said affected individuals would be told to stay at home under isolation or quarantine, depending on the situation.
Finch said the district carried out a deep cleaning on any rooms used by the affected student and the tracer’s investigation was completed last week.
“But we and the Department of Health will continue to monitor the situation,’’ he said. "If either of us comes across any new information we’ll update each other.’’