NEWTOWN, PA — All athletics and activity programs for Council Rock North High School students are shut down until further notice, Principal Susan C. McCarthy told parents in an email Tuesday afternoon.
The move comes one day after the high school decided to cancel in-person classes for the week after three students reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent Robert Fraser's decision to close the school went against the advice of Bucks County Health Director David Damsker, who did not recommend closing school.
The health department will only recommend closing a school when there is a clear indication that the district's health and safety plan isn't working, Damsker told Patch, and there's no evidence at this point that transmission is happening within schools.
"School closures are very disruptive and don't help stop people from getting sick outside of school," Damsker said. "If people continue to have parties and gather, closing school won't stop any of that from occurring."
In a follow-up email sent late Tuesday afternoon, McCarthy said two people "from our Council Rock High School North community" reported testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases this week to five.
The district is working with the Bucks County Department of Health to identify close contacts of the individuals who tested positive as part of the contact tracing process, she added.
"As always, please continue to monitor your health and that of your children," McCarthy said. "If you notice a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19, please remain home and contact your medical provider. Moreover, if you feel uncomfortable, you may keep your children home, and during this time your children may continue to access the classroom and curriculum through interactive livestream."
Between Aug. 31 and Oct. 13, there have been 131 cases of COVID-19 throughout the 13 public school districts and private schools in Bucks County, Damsker said, with many of those cases linked to activities outside of school.
Parents or guardians concerned about family members are encouraged to contact their child's physician or the county health department, she said.