RAYMOND — Two north county school districts have reported positive cases of covid-19 less than two weeks after students returned to classrooms for in-person learning.
Each has tackled the virus head-on with guidance from the Pacific County Health Department.
The Raymond School District announced via Facebook on the morning of Oct. 8 that they had received word someone at the district had tested positive for the virus. At that time, contact tracing was still being conducted.
According to Superintendent Dr. Steve Holland, the district was notified the night before, Oct. 7, of the positive test. They immediately began compiling a list of students and staff members the individual had been in contact with.
Holland said the district has been following stringent cleaning guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The guidelines dictate how to properly and effectively clean each building each day.
“We disinfect every room every night,” Holland said. “[The last time the individual] was here was Monday [Oct. 5], so the building had been disinfected three times [since they were last here at the elementary school].”
Holland continued, “We didn’t have to do anything different from that other than change filters out for the HVAC system. The main thing we did is they asked for a contact list of every person that [individual] had been in contact with that day. So we rounded that up and came up with a list that included six adults and a total of 19 students.”
The adults and students are currently quarantining at their homes and will be allowed to return back to the school on Oct. 19 when their quarantines end. Holland said that not all those in quarantine would be tested for covid-19 — only those in closer contact for a more extended time or that begin to show symptoms.
On Oct. 9, Willapa Valley School District announced a positive case of covid-19. A press release from the district did not elaborate on whether it was a student or staff member but did said it has halted phased-in in-person learning for 7th-grade through 12th-grade students until Oct. 19.
Morris and the district have declined to comment directly on the positive case, but she said via email, “While we hope we will not face an issue like this again in our school again this year, we might. But it is reassuring to know our school is up to the challenge.”
It’s is unclear how many students and staff members were affected and how many in total were required to quarantine. The district did not respond to requests for more information.
Lucking out so far
So far in north county, the South Bend School District has not reported any cases of covid-19. Superintendent Dr. Jon Tienhaara said they have been lucky thus far and that it may only be a matter of time before the district sees a case.
“We just take it one day at a time, and even though I sound encouraging, I am fully aware [that] most likely we are going to see cases,” Tienhaara said. “I think it’s inevitable and all we can do is our best. We are going to lean on the health department and other health agencies and take it as we get it.”
Both Holland and Tienhaara credit the Pacific County Public Health and Human Services Department for all their hard work in contact tracing and ensuring all the local districts are well informed and adequately maintaining each district during the pandemic.
South Bend planned to begin a phased change to in-person instruction on Oct. 12.