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Montana Law Enforcement Academy closes following positive COVID-19 test
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Montana Law Enforcement Academy closes following positive COVID-19 test

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MLEA

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy is pictured in this Independent Record file photo. 

The Montana Law Enforcement Academy in Helena closed Friday for two weeks after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

Friday morning, the student notified staff of the positive test, said John Barnes, Montana Department of Justice spokesman. The student is part of a class of 30 from 13 different law enforcement agencies, he said.

“Following the academy’s COVID-19 protocol, staff immediately notified the Lewis and Clark County Health Department,” Barnes wrote in an email. “Health authorities began contact tracing and academy staff gathered information about where the students have been and with whom they have been in contact for the last two weeks.”

Per the protocol, the campus closed at 1 p.m. on Friday and will remained closed until a tentative date of Aug. 24. 

Students and staff who had contact with the student have returned home to quarantine for 14 days and facilities will be cleaned. Barnes did not have a tally of how many people were on quarantine. 

All law enforcement agencies with students at the academy had been notified, he said.

“The Montana Law Enforcement Academy was one of the few state training centers in the nation that was able to continue operating due to the stringent protocols implemented immediately as the pandemic spread," Bryan Lockerby, administrator of the Division of Criminal Investigation, said in a statement. "Although this incident is concerning, it will have minimal impact on public safety training services in the long term. I credit the quick response by staff to ensure the safety of everyone involved.”

Students first arrived at the academy on July 26 and were pre-screened for symptoms and monitored daily. The academy also implemented social distancing and regular disinfecting protocols in the training, living, and dining facilities, Barnes said.

Reporter Tom Kuglin can be reached at 447-4076 @IR_TomKuglin

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