Kinhaven employees test negative for Covid following positive results

By Cynthia Prairie
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The five employees of Kinhaven Music School in Weston who tested positive for Covid-19 have all been retested at least two more times with negative results for the contagious coronavirus,  school co-executive director Anthony Mazzocchi told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

While expressing disappointment that the school had to send the class of young musicians home half-way through its two-week session, he added, “we had no choice but to suspend the school. We did the right thing. Since two of the five had been off-campus (for work-related errands), we could not say that this (the positive tests) cannot be right.”

And, Mazzocchi said, “No one got Covid, no one got sick.”

The situation began on Saturday, Aug. 21 when five employees who don’t come into regular contact with students tested positive for Covid-19 after testing negative the week before.   “Out of an abundance of caution,” Mazzocchi said at the time, the school decided to end its two-week classes for children ages 10 to 14 a week early. The 70 voice and instrumental students, all from the Northeast, left the school by Monday, Aug. 23, as did the employees for that session.  The employees were retested by their hometown physicians, Mazzocchi said, and reported the negative results to the school.

Since it reopened this year after a Covid hiatus in 2020, the school instituted testing, vaccine, masking and distancing protocols for everyone on campus, and that included downsizing the limited number of performances it held. Kinhaven holds seven age-specific sessions for both adults and young musicians from around the country.

Mazzocchi said that as the delta variant began to rise,  the school instituted stricter protocols, especially since unvaccinated young students would be attending, and that included a campus lockdown except for kitchen staff.

Other protocols, he said, include a proof of vaccination, if applicable, a negative PCR test taken before the student traveled to Kinhaven, an intake test and then another test a week into the two-week session. Since there were few wind players, masks were worn during practice. And choir members rehearsed outdoors.

Mazzocchi said the school also contacted all the parents about the new findings and no one was upset, adding that “the kids were grateful to have had a week with us.” He added that the school has stayed in touch with the Vermont Department of Health, and “they were pleased with the way we handled the situation.”

Students for the first of the remaining two sessions arrived this past weekend. Those sessions consist of about 25 vaccinated adults each and lasts less than a week.

Reflecting on the situation, Mazzocchi said, “It was not my favorite week of all time.”

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About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor more than 30 years. She has worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.

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