Thirteen cases of COVID-19 have been reported at local schools after they reopened for in-person learning just over a week ago. Two positive cases were identified among students at Hatch Elementary School in Half Moon Bay, two at Ocean Shore Elementary School in Pacifica. There were nine across campuses in the Jefferson Union High School District.

As of Friday, no cases had been reported at La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District.

Each of the public schools has been operating under the rules laid out by the state and the San Mateo County Departments of Health and Education, which mandates wearing masks indoors at all times during school. The rules further require anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to stay home from school and isolate.

In an email to the Review, Cabrillo Unified School District Superintendent Sean McPhetridge wrote that all Hatch families were informed that two students had tested positive for COVID-19 last week. In response, the school principal and district nurse Susan Vana are conducting contact tracing. Those who are identified as close contacts, defined by the state as anyone who was within six feet of a person who has COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes in a day, must monitor their symptoms and get tested twice per week.

At Ocean Shore Elementary School, two cases were reported in succession on the first and second day of school, Superintendent Heather Olsen said. She said the cases were not related to one another.

Jefferson Union High School District is posting its COVID-19 statistics publicly on its website. As of Friday, nine cases had been identified in the district, including one each at Oceana High and Terra Nova high schools and one at the district office. The Oceana High School case is tallied as having not exposed any other students or staff. The data does not differentiate between student and staff cases.

According to county policies, each school campus must have an isolation room where students who have symptoms or learn they have been in close contact with a positive case can wait to be picked up immediately. Anytime there is a confirmed case at a campus, staff and parents of the school are required to be notified.

Under the state’s rules, exposed students and staff are allowed to continue attending school in person so long as all parties were wearing masks, and those exposed continue to be asymptomatic and test negative for COVID-19.

Sarah Wright is the deputy editor for the Review. She reports on unincorporated San Mateo County and local schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and has worked in policy and communications in Washington, D.C.

(1) comment

Dan Stegink

All parents of students in a classroom of an infected student should be notified by email immediately so they can control exposure in their own household among seniors and the unvaccinated under twelve. Under the current published guidelines your child could have set face to face with an infected student for ten minutes and it appears you would not qualify to be contacted.

"Those who are identified as close contacts, defined by the state as anyone who was within six feet of a person who has COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes in a day, must monitor their symptoms and get tested twice per week."

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