Canby school administrators warned community members to expect periodic disruptions this year, as students and staff would sometimes be pulled from the classroom due to quarantine protocols required by the state and county.
But they may not have expected it quite this quickly.
One week into the 2021-22 school year, 10 students and two employees have tested positive for the virus, while another 52 students — slightly more than 1% of the district’s student population — have been required to quarantine, along with four staff members.
A dozen students and staff are currently isolating, which is required either when an individual presents symptoms but has not been tested, or tests positive but is asymptomatic.
Positive cases have been identified at Canby High School (four students, one employee), Lee Elementary (three students), Trost Elementary (two students, one employee) and Knight Elementary (one student).
The largest numbers of quarantining students are at Trost (20) and Lee (12).
Students and staff are required to quarantine if they might have been exposed to Covid-19 or have recently been in “close contact” with a confirmed positive (defined as being within six feet of an infected person for a total of at least 15 minutes within a 24-hour period).
The Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority generally require a 14-day quarantine for possible exposures, but exceptions can be made if the individual is fully vaccinated or if they had previously been sick with their own case of Covid-19 and had recently recovered.
District officials said at a school board meeting this month that quarantine protocols would be determined on a case-by-case basis at the direction of Clackamas County Public Health.
“If a student misses school due to quarantine, they will need to work with their teacher, and sometimes the principal, to stay connected to their learning,” Superintendent Aaron Downs explained during an Aug. 23 work session.
“We know some of our classes last year had some really robust online resources that students were able to access, and we’re going to work hard with our teachers who are consummate professionals to try to keep kids as connected to their learning as we can.”
Downs said the district would offer other support to students and families during quarantine if needed.
Schools are doing on-site testing this academic year with BinaxNow Rapid Covid-19 tests. Tests are administered only to staff members or students who become symptomatic during the school day — and whose parents or guardians have signed the required consent form. Students cannot be tested without parental consent.
The Canby School District made additional efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19 this year, in anticipation of a return to full-time, in-person learning, including upgrades to facility HVAC systems and picnic tables at all middle and elementary schools to enable the “creative use of outdoor space” for mask breaks and learning opportunities.
Students, staff and visitors are required to wear a face mask at all times while inside Canby school facilities.
The incubation period for Covid-19 — which means the length of time between a person is exposed and they develop symptoms or test positive for infection — ranges anywhere from two to 14 days, but is typically around five days.
This suggests those students and staff who tested positive this week may have been unknowingly infected before school began. Covid-19 is widely circulating in most parts of the state and country, fueled by the more contagious delta variant.
District officials could not be reached Friday for comment.
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