Local schools see increase in students in quarantine

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Local school districts’ COVID dashboards show an increasing number of students in quarantine due to the coronavirus.

According to Spokane Public Schools‘ dashboard, which was last updated on April 22, there are currently 307 people in quarantine. That’s up from 197 in quarantine the week prior. During the week of April 16–22, the district reported 22 confirmed cases.

The district also reported a person contracting the virus inside a school, which brings the number up to 11 people. The district has kept that number to a minimum since the start of the school year, with that number unchanged since the beginning of February.

The Mead School District currently shows more than 150 students in its district in quarantine due to close contact, with more than 30 students and staff positive with COVID in the last 14 days.

The West Valley School District shows 110 students in quarantine, with numbers updated on April 23. The district reported 14 total confirmed cases in the last two weeks between students and staff.

In the Central Valley School District, there are more than 50 people who contracted the virus in the last 14 days. The district’s COVID dashboard was last updated Tuesday. About 200 close contacts, students and teachers, across its schools are currently in quarantine.

Brian Asmus, the director of school safety and security and the COVID coordinator for the district, says these increase in cases and quarantines happened for a number of reasons. He says it’s a result of Easter, spring break, and gatherings from the NCAA tournament. The district returned to full-time in-person learning for all grades the week after spring break.

Then, because the social distancing rules went from six feet to three feet in classrooms, more students could be considered close contacts in schools now.

Since the district implemented voluntary school testing, Asmus said it helped reduce the number of students having to quarantine.

For example, Asmus said if there were two people who tested positive in a classroom, the Spokane Regional Health District’s protocol would mean every student in the class would have to quarantine. But, because of the new testing protocols, those students who are not identified within six feet of those infected students, they can get a rapid test. If it’s negative, they can return to class immediately.

The district says it continues to work with SRHD and follow the protocols in place.

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