One of the area’s day care centers is closed for two weeks due to two positive tests for the novel coronavirus.
According to a letter to parents from owner Kathy Bohlmann obtained by Waverly Newspapers, Discoveries Learning Center in Denver has shuttered temporarily from July 6 through July 19. It is scheduled to reopen on Monday, July 20.
The letter states that the center had received confirmation of the two COVID-19 cases over an 18-hour span on July 4. A staff member who works in the 2-year-old classroom was diagnosed with the virus, as was a child in the second- and third-grade room.
“Students last saw the staff (member) in the 2-year-old room on Wednesday, June 23,” the letter stated. “She did not display any symptoms until after work, and she has not returned, as she was waiting test results.
“Students and staff in the second- and third-grade classroom last saw the student on Tuesday, June 30.”
According to media reports, the state saw 567 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths between 10 a.m. July 3 and 10 a.m. July 4, the time frame the two cases were confirmed. They were the only two reported cases on July 3, according to data on coronavirus.iowa.gov.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, July 9, when this story was written, Bremer County has 102 cases of COVID-19, 80 of whom have recovered and seven have died.
Bohlmann noted in the letter that the two classrooms are at opposite ends of the center, and the staff member and the child did not spend any time together during the day.
She also said that the Iowa Department of Human Services does not require closure of day care centers or preschools until there would be three or more confirmed cases within two weeks.
“However, at this time, I feel it best to close for the following reasons,” she said. “1) We have several siblings at different classrooms that could possibly result in cross-contamination. 2) We have been diligent to keep the same staff in each of the classrooms this summer. However, we are also concerned about keeping our staff healthy and in a child-care setting, social distancing is not always possible.
“3) We have staff planning to test early next week who need to remain out until the results are back. Presently, this has been known to take up to a week. 4) The final reason I am closing is timing. As soon as we have a third case, we must close immediately. Hopefully, giving you this weekend to make arrangements for care will be beneficial.”
Bohlmann urged parents to keep their children at home if possible during the two weeks, and she will not charge parents tuition during the closure.
“Please know that this was not an easy decision to make,” Bohlmann said in the letter. “I hope you will understand it is one that was made with the best interest of staff, children and families in mind as we don’t want to see an outbreak occur.”
Bohlmann could not be reached directly by press time.