An Ellen Fletcher Middle School student has tested positive for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, according to an email to the community from the Office of the Superintendent this morning.

This is the first confirmed case of COVID-19 involving a student in Palo Alto Unified School District.

“County health officials have signaled that we should expect the virus to continue spreading for a period of time across Santa Clara County,” the memo stated. “As promised, PAUSD will report all confirmed cases to our staff and families.”

This announcement comes after Santa Clara County — as well as six other Bay Area counties — ordered residents to shelter in place yesterday. The order came into effect at 12:01 a.m. last night, and will continue for at least three weeks. The county also announced on Friday the closure of all schools, including PAUSD, for a minimum of three weeks.

In the order, the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department emphasizes the importance of complying with Social Distancing Requirements — this means staying at home whenever possible and maintaining at least a six-foot distance between other individuals when out. The department also stresses that residents should not go to the emergency room unless essential, and to continue practicing personal hygiene habits such as washing hands with soap and water frequently and avoiding touching facial features.

As of March 16 at 5 p.m., 138 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed within the county, according to the County of Santa Clara Public Health Department.

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