Kent County Health Officer William Webb has closed the Chestertown Christian Academy, declaring the school unsafe after school officials allegedly failed to cooperate in a reported COVID-19 case. 

“School leadership has failed to furnish information requested by the health department to investigate this situation and has refused to cooperate as required by law,” Webb said in a late press release on Sept. 30. “The health department has not been able to identify and contact those who may have been exposed to the alleged positive individual.”

Webb said the lack of cooperation and failure to provide the requested information was a violation of law.

“At this time the health department cannot reassure the community regarding the safety of this situation,” Webb said. “Chestertown Christian Academy has been ordered closed until further notice.”

Webb said anyone who can place themselves at the Chestertown Christian Academy between September 23rd and September 25th has potentially been exposed and is at risk of contracting COVID-19. Additionally, anyone who has been in contact with students, staff or volunteers of the school is also potentially at risk.

The Kent Pilot has learned that the school has retained David Gibbs III, the lead attorney in the high profile Terri Schiavo case in the early 2000s that pitted religious groups against Schiavo’s husband’s attempt to discontinue life support after Terri suffered irreparable brain damage. Schiavo’s husband eventually prevailed in the courts.

Gibbs works for the National Center for Life and Liberty, a group that represents religious institutions. Gibbs most recently represented Pastor Todd Bell of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, ME. Todd officiated a wedding in early August that was linked to nearly 200 infections and seven deaths. Todd continued to hold church services after the outbreak without a mask requirement.

Calvary Baptist Church is connected to the Sanford Christian Academy where masks aren’t required among teachers and staff.

Webb said anyone who believes they’ve been exposed or has symptoms should contact their primary care provider and notify the Kent County Health Department at 410-778-1350.