In an alarming turn of events, Loudoun County Public Schools has announced that two more staff members at Ashburn’s Waxpool Elementary have tested positive for the coronavirus, including Principal Michael Pellegrino. He is seen in the photo at the top with students back in February.
On top of that, several other members of the Waxpool Elementary community are showing symptoms of the coronavirus and are awaiting the results of testing. It was just two days ago that the school district announced the first positive at Waxpool Elementary. Now there are three official positives, with more possible.
Meanwhile, a staff member connected to Liberty Elementary in South Riding and Pinebrook Elementary in Aldie has also tested positive for the virus.
As of this moment — the 5 p.m. hour on Saturday, March 21 — there are 14 official cases of the coronavirus in Loudoun County.
Below is the full statement from Loudoun Public Schools Superintendent Eric Williams:
Dear LCPS Families and Staff:
I am writing to share with you that the Loudoun County Health Department (LCHD) has informed us today that two additional Loudoun County Public Schools staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19. This brings us to a current total of three staff members who have tested positive so far. I also emailed you on Thursday, March 19, regarding a Waxpool Elementary staff member who had tested positive.
Waxpool Elementary School
The LCHD informed us today that a second staff member at Waxpool Elementary School has tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19. The second staff member is currently not experiencing symptoms and is self-quarantined at home. Waxpool Elementary School Principal Michael Pellegrino has chosen to share with his school community that he is the second staff member that tested positive at Waxpool Elementary School. We are pleased that he is currently not experiencing symptoms.
The LCHD is now conducting an investigation relating to this second staff member and is in the process of calling each individual identified as having had close contact with the second staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. The LCHD has informed us that these individuals should expect to be contacted by phone today, March 21. The LCHD has already reached every individual who was identified as having close contact with the first staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. The LCHD is not able to provide any additional information about the ill individual or their contacts.
The LCHD is aware that several other members of the Waxpool Elementary School community are symptomatic and have test results pending. The LCHD states that it is not known at this time whether or not the tests will be positive.
Liberty Elementary School/Pinebrook Elementary School
The LCHD has also informed us that a staff member who is associated with Liberty Elementary School and Pinebrook Elementary School tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19. The staff member is receiving medical care and we wish them a complete recovery.
The LCHD is conducting a contact investigation and is in the process of calling each individual identified as having had close contact with the staff member who tested positive for COVID-19. The LCHD plans to provide additional information on this topic to the school community as the investigation progresses.
Preventative Measures as a Form of Community Care
I encourage LCPS students, parents, and staff members to adhere to CDC preventive measures and guidance as a form of community care. Recognizing that the LCHD presumes that community transmission of COVID-19 is occuring, community members may wish to stay home, even if they feel fine, except for essential trips. Essential trips might include trips to doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks, and gas stations.
The LCHD advises that anyone who is ill should self-isolate and contact their physician for further guidance. The LCHD can be reached at 703-737-8300 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday for questions.
Regardless of whether you stay home, please continue practicing preventive measures recommended by the CDC, such as social distancing, covering your sneeze or cough, and frequent hand washing. Social distancing has proven to be extremely effective and involves maintaining at least six feet of separation between yourself and others, as well as limiting your time around groups of more than ten people. You may wish to review some of the resources that the CDC has made available for communities that have experienced a confirmed COVID-19 case. These can help you monitor your own family’s health and address some of the concerns that this news may raise.
Also, it is very important that we refrain from speculation and passing on unverified rumors.
Please know that as Superintendent of the Loudoun County Public Schools I care deeply about the health and well-being of students, staff members, their families, and the broader community. Let’s come together as a community by practicing community care, including social distancing and other preventative measures.
Eric Williams, Ed.D.