Hillsboro Charter Academy

Hillsboro Charter Academy in Purcellville has moved to asynchronous learning days before winter break, after a “significant number” of students went into quarantine following close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, principal Paul Vickers told the Times-Mirror on Wednesday.

According to the Loudoun County Public Schools COVID-19 Case Data Daily Snapshot, 29 students were quarantining as of Wednesday. The school, which has a student population of 144 students, serves students in kindergarten through 5th grade.

A number of students left the school early on Monday because they weren’t feeling well, according to Vickers. He said that of the cases he was aware of, “The ones I know about were not COVID,” but could have exhibited flu-like symptoms that are analogous with COVID-19.

“We can’t really say [those students] went home for COVID reasons, but they were consistent with symptoms that could be,” he said.

“We have to be cautious in any case,” he said.

“There are families where, for instance, their 2nd grader had to quarantine as a close contact,” Vickers said. “Maybe they have a 4th grader and 5th grader too.” He said that out of an abundance of caution, many parents opted to keep their students home before the break.

The school, he said, has been diligent in complying with COVID-19 mitigation strategies, including wearing masks indoors. “Any visitor who comes to the building doesn’t come into the building without wearing a mask. The one exception is during lunch,” he said.

Despite the recent shift in instruction format, Vickers expressed confidence that as more students in the elementary school-age group become fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the need for students at his school to quarantine will decrease over time.

“If there is a similar situation after the new year,” Vickers said, referring to students coming into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 after obtaining two vaccine doses against the virus, “that will mean that they do not need to quarantine. You do not need to quarantine if you had been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the encounter.”

“We are very much looking forward to having all our students in [school] on Jan. 4,” the principal said.

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