Some Melrose Students Quarantining After 7 COVID Cases in First Week of School

If close contacts remain asymptomatic and test negative for the virus, they can return to school by Friday, Sept. 10, the superintendent said.

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The school district for Melrose, Massachusetts, is dealing with a handful of positive COVID cases only one week into the school year.

The superintendent for Melrose Public Schools said there are seven positive cases in the district -- some are adults and some are students.

Dr. Julie Kukenberger said she learned over the weekend about two students who were infected in the same household, prompting school officials to ask those identified as close contacts to quarantine.

“Out of an abundance of caution and because our test and stay program is not yet ready for full implementation, we asked the potentially exposed students to learn from home for the next three days,” she said in a statement.

If those students connected to the COVID-positive cases remain asymptomatic and test negative for the virus, they can return to school by Friday, Sept. 10, she said.

Kukenberger also said the district is taking each positive case as it comes and the responses to other positive cases in the district were different.

Without offering further details, Kukenberger said, "The health and well-being of our students and staff remains our number one priority."

"We have implemented a multi-pronged risk mitigation strategy in MPS, and additional details regarding our protocols are included in our MPS Back-to-School Plan," she added.

On Aug. 25, Massachusetts Education Commissioner Jeff Riley issued new regulations requiring all public school students ages 5 and above, and all staffers, to wear masks indoors while at school.

All visitors are also expected to wear masks in school buildings. Masks are not required when outdoors.

The regulations took effect immediately and came a day after the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave Riley the authority to issue a mask mandate for K-12 public schools.

The requirement will remain in place until at least Oct. 1 and could be revised in light of new public health data.

When students return to Massachusetts classrooms this week, they'll have to mask up and follow COVID guidelines.

The mandate, which was welcomed by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, came as the delta variant of the coronavirus has continued to drive up case counts around the state.

The number of new cases of COVID-19 increased by nearly 5,500 over the holiday weekend while the number of newly confirmed coronavirus deaths in Massachusetts rose by 12.

The new numbers pushed the state’s confirmed COVID-19 death toll to 17,921 since the start of the pandemic, while its confirmed caseload rose to more than 720,000.

There were more than 600 people reported hospitalized Tuesday because of confirmed cases of COVID-19, with about 160 in intensive care units.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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