A COVID-19 case at Pescadero’s preschool has delayed La Honda-Pescadero Unified School District’s reopening plans, further postponing the first day back for a small group of Pescadero students who had been set to return today.

After planning for a Monday reopening for its first “bubble” groups at both area elementary schools, LHPUSD instead opened to just 11 transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students in La Honda this week.

Superintendent Amy Wooliever wrote in a statement to the Review that after the positive case was discovered in the preschool, she closed the program and worked with Puente de la Costa Sur and San Mateo County to test students and families that same day. Wooliever declined to confirm if the case was among students or staff to protect their confidentiality, and said she is moving forward with protocols outlined in the district’s reopening plan.

“As we monitor possible community spread, and in an abundance of caution, we decided to delay the start of our first Pescadero bubble as additional testing occurs and we work with (the county) to contact trace,” Wooliever wrote. “The safety of our students and staff remains our highest priority.”

Wooliever said the possibility of a positive case in LHPUSD has been top of mind as district officials have partnered with the county and Puente to conduct monthly community testing and some additional targeted testing.

According to case numbers from San Mateo County Department of Health updated last Friday, Pescadero is now reporting 20 cases, a slight increase from the two dozen cases reported earlier in the month. In neighboring La Honda and Loma Mar, there are fewer than 10 known cases in each.

In late October, the district got approval from the county to reopen its campuses, and planned to operate in-person from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in “bubble” groups of no more than 14 students. The first bubbles to return were to include transitional kindergarteners and kindergarteners at La Honda Elementary School and kindergarteners and first- graders at Pescadero Elementary School.

Instead, Pescadero Elementary’s reopening has been postponed until Nov. 17 with the preschool reopening planned for Nov. 19.

Wooliever and Principal Liz Morgan said the first day at La

Honda Elementary was a success. Morgan said students and teachers alike were excited to be back among friendly faces.

“It was heartwarming to see them run over to their classmates and feel their joy in seeing their teacher, friends and classmates in person,” Morgan said.

The district’s initial plan was for each new bubble of elementary students to be brought back at least one week apart. It has not yet scheduled reopening for additional bubbles.

At the last school board meeting, Wooliever said that elementary sites were outfitted with filters and will adhere to strict cleaning protocols during reopening. The two schools are also utilizing outdoor space and requiring masks and COVID-19 screenings for every student every day.

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