Monument Academy not site of COVID-19 outbreak, health department says

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment erroneously reported a COVID-19 outbreak at a school in Monument when it updated its statewide outbreak data this week, alarming parents.

On Wednesday, the agency reported an outbreak at Monument Academy involving one staff member and one student who tested positive. The agency defines an outbreak as when multiple students and/or staff test positive after spending time together in class and it seems likely the virus spread in the school.

That, however, was untrue at Monument Academy, according to school officials, who say they have not identified a case of COVID-19 among students or staff. The Denver Post, which reported the outbreak, confirmed with the state health department that it was an error.

“We erroneously reported an outbreak at Monument Academy,” an agency spokesperson said. “We received information on an outbreak and because of a miscommunication, we identified the wrong school. It was human error, and we apologize for the confusion.”

Agency officials clarified the miscommunication was about Bear Creek Elementary, also in Monument, which has an outbreak involving one staff member and two students who tested positive. They also said they removed Monument Academy from the department’s website, but as of Friday morning the school was still listed among “active outbreaks.”

School officials said they had to quickly quell parents’ concerns about the report. In a letter to families, Chief Operating Officer Christianna Herrera said the district is not aware of any students or staff who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and none of the students’ parents have reported positive cases either.

“Please know that in the event of a positive case with students or staff, you will be informed immediately and directly from Monument Academy administration,” Herrera said.

The Denver Post is keeping a running list of school-related COVID-19 cases. Please email Tiney Ricciardi at [email protected] if you know of others that aren’t yet listed.

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