Six Fauquier County School Division employees have recently tested positive for COVID-19. All work in Building B of the Central Office Complex, 430 East Shirley Ave. in Warrenton. According to signage outside Building B, the offices host the Office of Special Education, the Records Department and the Department of Student Services.
FCPS spokeswoman Tara Helkowski confirmed the six positive cases and said that Building B was closed last week and reopened Monday, Sept. 14.
Even though an outbreak -- as defined by the Virginia Department of Health -- usually consists of two or more people in the same workplace, Dr. Wade Kartchner, health director for the Rappahannock-Rapidan Health District, explained that this case was not classified as an outbreak by VDH.
He said that the positive tests reported at the central office were from rapid tests taken by the employees. He added, “For an outbreak to make the ‘official’ VDH external website, there have to be two PCR positives. (PCR tests check for active infection and indicate whether a person currently is infected with coronavirus. They can take from three days to two weeks to process.)
“That is not the case here yet. For public health intervention purposes, however, we respond as we would to an official outbreak, working with the facility and performing the appropriate case investigation, contact tracing and isolation and quarantine instructions.”
Helkowski would not comment on whether any students may have been exposed to the virus, whether any employees were experiencing symptoms or whether anyone was in quarantine because of the positive tests.
She said, “When an employee notifies the school health coordinator or the director of human resources of a presumed or positive COVID-19 result, the following actions occur:
- The school health coordinator works directly with VDH on reporting and contact tracing.
- VDH works with contacts and provides them guidance with quarantine or testing protocols.
- Human Resources reaches out to the employee to request a list of employees they may have worked with.
- The school division’s Employee Wellness Center is contacted, and appointments are set.
- The director of human resources sends an email communication to the School Board, senior staff, director of facilities and school health coordinator. At that point, a plan is set for cleaning and communicating with staff.
- Due to HIPAA, names cannot be revealed. If individuals are fearful that they were exposed, we encourage them to contact the Wellness Center.
Helkowski said that beginning the week of Sept. 21, “FCPS will publish a COVID dashboard on its reopening website to provide the public with accurate, up-to-date data. The dashboard will identify the number of confirmed positive cases in FCPS by building, and will include a list of the protocols followed.”