#childsafety | Person who rode Virginia Beach City Public Schools bus tests positive for COVID-19, district confirms

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Someone who rode a Virginia Beach City Public Schools bus has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesperson with the school district confirmed to News 3 Wednesday.

Kaitlin Jensen, a Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) parent, learned the news Wednesday night.

“It was kind of a matter of time. I’m a little sad that it happened so quickly,” Jensen said. “It does raise concern, as we begin to bring more and more kids back.”

In a letter to families, the school district said officials were informed late Tuesday that the person was on bus #184 from September 30 to October 2 and has since tested positive for the virus.

It’s unknown if the person is a child or adult.

Jensen said she chose virtual learning for her son this semester with concerns of returning to the classroom and buses.

“I know my own child has about zero ability to stay 3 feet from anybody,” she said. “My child’s health is very important to me, and I feel like as a parent, I’m blessed with the ability that he could stay home with his grandmother and do virtual schooling.”

Earlier this week, News 3 talked with district transportation officials as more students boarded the bus — and headed back to classrooms.

They said the district took advice from medical experts on how to transport students.

“We have the seats assigned. We use the airline method industry of assigning seats,” VBCPS Director of Transportation and Fleet Services David Pace said. “Those children will sit on those seats for the remainder of the year. That helps us with contact tracing in case we need to do that.”

As for Jensen, she hopes her son can return to in-person learning next semester, but safety will be key.

“When my kids goes back, we’re going to transport him to school,” Jensen said.

School officials say the person will not be on any bus and will not enter any VBCPS building until they are released by their healthcare provider and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines have been met.

The 14-day quarantine period for this possible exposure ends on October 16.

While the letter is “intended for low-risk contacts,” school officials are reassuring VBCPS families that they have worked with the Virginia Beach Department of Public Health in identifying and communicating directly with anyone who may have had an increased exposure risk.

The letter can be read in full below:

Good morning, VBCPS staff and families-The health and safety of our entire community is of utmost importance for everyone at Virginia Beach City Public Schools. With that in mind, we want to make you aware that the school division was informed late yesterday of an individual who was on bus #184 on Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 and has since tested positive for COVID-19. This person will not be on any bus or enter any VBCPS building until released by their healthcare provider and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance has been met.

The 14-day quarantine period for this possible exposure ends Oct. 16. The Virginia Beach Department of Public Health (VBDPH) believes the risk of transmission is low since this individual practiced social distancing and was wearing a face covering. Although this letter is intended for low-risk contacts, please note that we have worked with the VBDPH in identifying and communicating directly with “close contacts,” or individuals who may have had an increased exposure risk and require additional notification and guidance. Per the CDC, a close contact [cdc.gov] is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes during an interaction starting from 2 days before illness onset or, for asymptomatic individuals, 2 days prior to their testing date.

The incubation period for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. If you have or develop any of the following symptoms, you should remain out of the school building and contact your healthcare provider immediately to inform them of a possible exposure:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms

For additional information about COVID-19, please go to the VDH website [nam03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com] or the CDC website [cdc.gov]. You may also call the Eastern Region COVID-19 Hotline with general questions at 757-683-2745.

Thank you for your support of Virginia Beach City Public Schools.

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