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Thirty students and staff told to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure at Attleboro High School

About 30 students and staffers at Attleboro High School have been told to quarantine after a student infected with COVID-19 entered the school Monday, officials said.

The student tested positive prior to arriving at the school Monday, but Attleboro Superintendent David Sawyer told parents the system did not get alerted in time to keep the student off campus.

“We were unable to prevent the resulting exposure,” Sawyer wrote to parents. “This unacceptable outcome was caused by delays in the reporting timeline, not a breakdown in our safety protocols.”

Once the student’s medical status was known, school nurses tracked down those who might have had contact or been exposed to the student and the highly infectious disease, officials said.

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The families have been told to follow COVID-19 health guidelines and quarantine those exposed for the next 14 days.

"We will have to wait for the end of the quarantines to be certain we were successful, but there is no reason at this moment to assume differently,'' Sawyer wrote.

In an interview with WHDH news, Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux criticized the student’s parents.

“An egregious … It was a reckless action to send a child, a teenager to school who is COVID-positive,” Heroux told the station. “It was really poor judgment.”

Attleboro Health Agent Alan Perry said in a telephone interview Wednesday that contact tracing undertaken at the school likely identified the people who might have had contact with the infected student.

“I don’t know that we are at the stage where there is cause for alarm at this juncture,'' said Perry. ”We do feel comfortable that we’ve identified the cases. We will be following up" with those identified as potential contacts with the student.


In Reading, administrators at Austin Preparatory School, an independent, grade 6-12 Catholic school, got an anonymous tip that roughly 40 upperclass students attended a party over the weekend.

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In response, head of school James Hickey announced Tuesday he would shut down all in-person activities for two weeks, and although there are no confirmed cases of the virus among students who attended the party, administrators have switched to remote learning until Sept. 29.



John R. Ellement can be reached at john.ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.