Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., which serves young men and is sponsored by the Society of Jesus, reported March 16 that its president, Jesuit Father Stephen Planning, has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus).
In a statement, the school said Father Planning tested positive for the virus March 15, and “is experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and is in self-quarantine at his residence.”
“Currently no other cases of COVID-19 are known amongst faculty, staff, or students at Gonzaga - however we know some people who came into contact with Father Planning are being tested,” the statement said.
The D.C. Department of Health issued a March 16 statement confirming Father Planning's positive test results and said, “all those who had close contact with this individual between March 13th to today could have been exposed to COVID-19. March 13th is the first date this individual was symptomatic.”
The Gonzaga statement said, “We recommend that all those who came into contact with Father Planning since March 1 (two weeks prior to his diagnosis) contact their healthcare provider and follow Centers for Disease Control and D.C. Health guidance.”
In a March 17 e-mail to parents, Thomas K. Every, Gonzaga's headmaster, said “At the moment we know of no other positive cases of coronavirus among faculty, staff or students other than Father Planning. But given the trajectory of the illness and the size and reach of our community, we are not assuming that will remain the case.”
He asked parents that “if any of your sons test positive for COVID-19, we hope that you will share that information with the school and give us permission to share it as needed with fellow students, faculty and staff, other parents.”
In an e-mail the same day to Gonzaga faculty and staff, Stephen Neill, the school's chief operating officer, requestd that “if any faculty or staff member is tested and receives a confirmation of COVID19, that you please share that information immediately and give the school permission to share it with others as well — including your name.”
Neill said that sharing such private medical information normally “would be an unusual request. But I hope you all realize it’s an essential request for an unusual time... This is what Father Planning did, for the good of Gonzaga and the good of our broader community.”
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