Mars Area reports first case of coronavirus

October 14, 2020 Cranberry Local News

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In a virtual board work session last week, Mars Area Superintendent Mark Gross announced the district was informed that a freshman student had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We had our first COVID case this week,” Gross said Oct. 6. “We're certainly disappointed with that.”

The student plays on a junior varsity soccer team and was last in school Sept. 25, according to information posted online before the meeting. Per pandemic procedures, the district has contacted the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

The Health Department is helping the district to contact trace, according to Gross. Specifically, it will get in touch with whoever came in close contact — within 6 feet and lasting 15 minutes or longer — with the student.

Gross praised district leaders, including high school Principal Lindsay Rosswog, for adhering to established pandemic protocols. Specifically citing students who use district transportation, Gross reminded families to have students wear masks.

“We're going to have to expect that we're not immune,” Gross said. “Let's not get lax with the protocols.”

The district remains open. Those who came in close contact with the student were notified and asked to quarantine until Friday, when the recommended 14-day quarantine ended from the Sept. 25 date. Students in quarantine shifted to live stream interactive (LSI) learning.

The soccer team the student is part of didn't practice or play until after Friday.

Spectator restrictions

Gross also updated the board on Gov. Tom Wolf's revised capacity restrictions. According to an announcement made Oct. 6, the state said public gathering capacities can be based off established maximum capacities starting Friday.

Indoor venues holding up to 2,000 people will be opened to 20% of maximum occupancy. Outdoor venues holding up to 2,000 people will be open to 25% of maximum occupancy.

“The good news is, we're at 20% max (indoor),” Gross said.

Gross said the district worked with Adams Township to calculate the district's maximum capacities. Those numbers were provided to the district, according to Gross.

“(That) gave us the official placards,” Gross said.

Sports spectators will be asked to contact athletic director Scott Heinauer about getting event tickets.

The district will continue to adhere to district and state safety protocols. Gross indicated district officials continue monitoring government information regarding the pandemic.

“COVID is real,” Gross said. “Let's continue to keep each other safe.”

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Samantha Beal

Samantha Beal