Plymouth HS student tests negative for COVID-19 after scare prompts school cancellation Friday

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — On the heels of a 17-year-old Plymouth North High School student being hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, the Plymouth school district announced all schools in the town would be closed on Friday.

On Friday evening, however, officials announced the student tested negative for the virus.

Amid fears of possible coronavirus contamination, Plymouth Public Schools Superintendent Gary Maestas issued a statement to parents on Thursday saying all 12 schools in the district would be closed so a professional commercial cleaning company could thoroughly disinfect all buildings and school buses.

“We want to stress that this is being done in an abundance of caution,” Maestras said in the letter. “In these unusual circumstances as the national picture continues to evolve, and with the strong presence of social media, we know it’s easy to begin speculating and questioning. We ask for your patience and understanding as we continue to work at the district level to ensure that we are taking the necessary precautionary steps.”

The student was hospitalized and tested on Wednesday night and remained quarantined at home while awaiting coronavirus test results. That student was one of 12 who recently visited Milan, Italy over February break.

All of those students and four chaperones were asked to stay home from school on Thursday and Friday. However, they had been back at school for the last two weeks.

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Some are concerned that, if any of them were infected, their peers have already been exposed.

The superintendent of schools told Boston 25 News that he has been following the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and the state’s Department of Public Health.

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“The prevailing theme today is why didn’t we keep these kids at home?” said Plymouth Public Schools Superintendent Gary Maestas. “And when these kids initially arrived back from Italy, two weeks ago, the guidance from the CDC and also the Mass. Department of Public Health was to monitor the kids; it wasn’t to keep them home.”

Maestas went on to say that school buildings are cleaned every night and that they will be doing some extra disinfecting in the coming days.

“The schools are cleaned every night, special attention to [the] disinfectant of surfaces across the board will be taking place from this point forward,” he said.