First COVID Case Caught Among SCASD Employees


(Photo/ Maya Cienfuegos)

As students prepare to return to in-person school, they must follow the health and safety protocols. This includes wearing a mask.

Maya Cienfuegos, Staff Writer

The first employee at SCASD tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 16, 2020. The employee had been out of the building for a few days before her symptoms began and was asked to isolate once she tested positive. Although she has since recovered, members of the SCASD community are left to wonder–how many others will become infected with the virus, and how will the district react?

Human Resources Director Linda Pierce, who is in charge of contact tracing of employees, reported 85 employees have had symptoms or close contact with a positive case. Out of those 85, only one has tested positive for the virus, and this case was not contracted from the school.

“I am told it [the SCASD health and safety plan] is one of the most comprehensive safety plans in the school districts of Pennsylvania,” Pierce said. “We also have the COVID-19 family handbook and a COVID-19 staff handbook.”

Fortunately, SCASD has been prepared for this COVID case since schools were reopened.

“I really hope students understand how hard people are working, and I mean everybody. From the custodians, who are cleaning the buildings, to the teachers in the classrooms, and the people in the health and safety team,” Pierce said.

As a result of this plan, SCASD has managed to keep students and staff safe as they slowly reopen schools.

As rumors of the SCASD COVID case float around State High, it is hard for students to know what is true and what is false. Freshman Rufaida Rahman said she is scared to go to school.

“I feel like we’re fine learning online and cases are just going up. The teacher testing positive for corona proves that we shouldn’t be going to school. It makes me really nervous,” Rahman said.

With the news of a teacher testing positive for COVID-19, rumors started to spread among students.

“Rumors are not facts,” Pierce said. “If students ever hear a rumor, they can look at the SCASD COVID-19 dashboard to find the facts.”

This dashboard is a resource that all members of the SCASD community can reference to see the number of cases not only in SCASD but all of Centre County. It is updated daily and shows the average growth of cases each day.

“This one case was very easily handled. We know that the individual did not come in contact with the virus at school,” Pierce said.

As the virus continues to spread through State College, it is important to know that the health and safety plan for SCASD is one of the most comprehensive plans in Pennsylvania. As long as students and staff participate in the simple rules of social distancing, mask-wearing, and the constant act of washing your hands, SCASD will be able to keep its COVID numbers as low as it has been since the district opened for the 2020-21 school year.