Four Bradley Hills Elementary School staff members contract COVID-19; building temporarily closes

Bradley Hills Elementary School, where four staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Photo courtesy of MCPS

Bradley Hills Elementary School, where four staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

By Lily Freeman

The Bradley Hills Elementary School building will close for two weeks after four staff members tested positive for COVID-19, according to an email MCPS sent out to Bradley Hills families this afternoon.

The infected employees were last at the building on October 6, MCPS wrote in the email. MCPS reached out to staff members who were in proximity to the affected employees, encouraging them to quarantine for two weeks and get tested for the coronavirus.

“The health and safety of our staff, students and community is our top priority,” the letter read.

Staff members’ infections won’t affect virtual learning for Bradley Hills students, said MCPS Director of Communications Gboyinde Onijala. Onijala declined to disclose the specific positions of the infected staff members, citing medical confidentiality concerns.

The incident comes less than two weeks after MCPS gave its three worker unions the required 45-day notice for the resumption of in-person instruction. This announcement formalized county officials’ decision of potentially bringing small groups of special education and ESOL students back to schools in person.

The situation at Bradley Hills shouldn’t deter other staff members from continuing to work to bring students back into the classroom, Onijala said.

“This does not impact our ongoing planning and efforts around the return to in-person learning,” she wrote in an email to The Black & White

The number of COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County increased by 0.4 percent overnight on October 8, and the Maryland Department of Health recorded one additional countywide death from the virus Thursday morning.

It’s critical that the community stay informed on issues like these, even when they don’t directly affect students, said former Bradley Hills parent Stacy Feuer. 

“As a parent, we often think only about how the virus and remote school are affecting our kids,” Feuer said. “The illnesses of these employees who are critical to school functioning should be an important part of any discussion about reopening.”