Bennett Elementary School students are returning to class next week after the COVID break

Students will be back at Bennett Elementary on Monday after a week-long hiatus from face-to-face learning due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

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Students will be back at Bennett Elementary on Monday after a week-long hiatus from face-to-face learning due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Officials from the County School Division and the Prince William Health District said Monday that the Bennett outbreak – the school in the Manassas area had 36 confirmed COVID-19 cases when the division announced its closure – was a mixture of transmission within the building and was outside the building. The county continues to have a high rate of transmission in the community as determined by the Virginia Department of Health.

In a statement to the school community on Friday, headmistress Shelley Pohzehl said that free time had resulted in a decline in case activities over the course of the week and that face-to-face learning could resume on Monday as planned.

If your child has been in close contact and has been quarantined, they shouldn’t return by the end of the specified period, she warned.

“It is important to note that the health department has informed us that further cases may arise,” wrote Pohzehl.

She urged parents to leave sick children at home; Get tested if you have potential COVID symptoms and stay home if a test is pending.

County health officials said that as with any school where children are too young to be vaccinated, the school community relies on adults being vaccinated within the community to limit the amount of community transmission, both students and Could infect school workers. Even against the highly contagious Delta variant, vaccines have been shown to be effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and greatly reducing the likelihood of serious illness or death from COVID. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve the Pfizer vaccine for use in 5-11 year olds before the end of the month, making young elementary school children eligible for COVID vaccination for the first time.

“There definitely seems to be a combination of transmission at school and then among the school community members, possibly outside of school,” said Sean Morris, a health district epidemiologist. “It really comes down to why the cases have increased so quickly, we don’t have a clear answer right now. And that’s one of the reasons we recommended the break. Whenever we need to recommend an intervention, we will recommend it as specifically and tailored as possible to stop the spread. One of the reasons we were as widespread as we were is because we couldn’t really clearly identify any points that would stop the transmission. “

Superintendent LaTanya McDade said no other school in the department was approaching the threshold that would suspend personal learning. There are currently 1,066 students in quarantine and 193 students in isolation, according to the department’s health dashboard. There are a total of around 90,000 students in the department.

“It will be a bigger challenge … the teachers are there to support, explain and really respond to this new learning,” said Pohzehl on Monday. “So we really encourage you to make every possible effort to get your students online and able to attend these sessions.”