The first lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 of a person associated with Northfield Public School’s emergency child care center at Bridgewater Elementary School. has been reported

Northfield Superintendent Matt Hillmann said the district learned of the positive test by the Minnesota Department of Health Monday.

The last day the person was at the elementary school was May 22. The individual’s name and association with the child care center have not been released.

“We are following the guidance from (Minnesota Department of Health) about notification and the next steps,” Hillmann said.

He noted the district has sent a message to staff and families whose children had been on-site May 20 and 22. In addition, a message has been sent to the staff and families of children who have had close contact with the person for a prolonged period, advising them to quarantine based on MDH guidance.

Hillmann said there’s been confirmed community spread of COVID-19 within Rice County for the last several weeks.

“Since the inception of our state-mandated childcare program in March, the district has taken precautions based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to the best of our ability for the setting,” he said. Those precautions have included requiring students and staff who are entering the building to pass a health screening administered by one of the district’s licensed nurses. There has been a daily disinfection of classrooms and commons areas.

Hillmann acknowledged social distancing is encouraged but difficult —especially with the youngest children. Adult workers are wearing cloth masks when they are inside and within 6 feet of others. Children are offered masks, but are not required to based on CDC guidance.

The emergency child care center will close Friday. A fee-based child care center is expected to open in its place June 15.

Despite the positive test, Hillmann said the child care center is one of the safest public places for children based on precautions staff are taking.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Load comments