The principal of the Kodiak High School sent out a letter to parents Tuesday night to tell them he has tested positive for COVID-19.
In his message, Neil Hecht said there were several reasons he shared his story. First of all, he wanted to assure parents that their children were safe.
Hecht said, when he realized he was a close contact of someone, who was exhibiting COVID-like symptoms on Oct.21, he and his children did not return to school.
Shortly afterwards, Hecht and one family member tested negative for the virus. Even so, they chose to continue to stay out of school as a precaution. But on Tuesday, the principal tested positive.
“Another reason I share my story with everyone,” Hecht wrote to the parents, “and gave up a little bit of my personal privacy, is, to send the message to the community to take COVID-19 seriously.”
He also said, “Do not hesitate to take precautions out of a perceived stigma of what others may think about you for being positive. The overall health of our community is just that important.”
Two elementary schools were closed briefly this year, after a student in each tested positive for the virus. But Superintendent Larry LeDoux said that wasn’t necessary this time.
“There is no reason to close the school, because there was no contagion in the school,” LeDoux said, because the principal did exactly what he was supposed to do – stay home when he realized he might possibly have been exposed to the virus.
“And in doing so, I think he made the high school very safe,” LeDoux said, “Because when people start feeling sick or have symptoms, they don’t normally have when they get sick, then they’re supposed to stay home to protect other people. And he did exactly that.”
Le Doux thanked Hecht for being open about contracting the virus, because it will help the community better understand how important it is to take precautions. And as a result, he says, schools in the Kodiak Island Borough have been able to remain open and in green status, which signifies a low level of community transmission. At the higher yellow risk level, schools will stay partially open with some classes taught remotely.
LeDoux says, following the winter break, there are plans for students in the entire district to be taught remotely for one week — to give staff, who travel away from Kodiak Island over the holidays, time to quarantine. LeDoux says, it’s also a buffer to find out if any students or staff contracted the virus during the break.
Link to Supt. Larry LeDoux’s letter to parents about plans to return to remote learning for one week, after the winter break: