PARMA, Ohio — Normandy High School in Parma is dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19 cases among its students, and several are tied to a recent marching band trip to Disney World.
In a letter to parents sent Thursday, Parma City School District spokeswoman Audrey Holtzman confirmed 14 Normandy students have tested positive for the coronavirus since April 12. While that represents just 1.1% of the school's enrollment, it's still "a significantly higher number than any other school in our district and warrants additional measures to stop the spread of the virus."
At least four of the cases have been directly linked to the band's annual Disney trip, which took place from April 5-11 despite rising case numbers and relaxed health restrictions in Florida during that period. Holtzman noted that all students with the virus are currently either "asymptomatic or with mild symptoms," but did note roughly 50 more students associated with the trip have been asked to quarantine.
Starting Friday, the school began conducting temperature and symptom checks of all students upon entry into the building as well as bringing in more cleaning staff. Those with the following symptoms are asked to stay home, unless documentation proves it is not COVID-19 related (i.e. allergies):
- Muscle aches/fatigue
- Fever (any temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- New onset or worsening of nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- New onset of cough
"We understand that this is a dramatic measure and could pose inconveniences to families of students to whom we deny entrance," Holtzman wrote. "However, we must be aggressive in preventing further students from acquiring the virus for their own health and so that we can maintain five-day weeks of in-person instruction for all students currently attending."
Ohioans 16 and up are eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19, meaning some students at Normandy are potentially protected against the virus. However, numbers for that younger age group remain low, leaving most high schoolers vulnerable to infection.
The vaccines are currently being tested in kids ages 12-15, with promising early results. By and large, most children infected with the coronavirus experience severe symptoms at a much lower rate than adults, although there have been exceptions.
NOTE: The video in the player below originally aired on March 1: