Valley school districts continue to see increased number of COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus

CENTRAL VALLEY, Calif. (KSEE) – Many school districts throughout the Valley are reporting an increased number of COVID-19 cases in their schools, leaving many students and staff quarantining and isolating at home.

Clovis Unified’s dashboard shows as of Tuesday, 141 students and staff have tested positive for COVID-19 in just the month of August.

In Visalia Unified, per the district, 164 employees are absent from work as of Tuesday due to a positive test or exposure, an increase of 65 employees since Friday. And 241 students are in quarantine due to exposure as of Tuesday, an increase of 72 students since Friday.

“We’ve had full classes quarantine. Within the first four days of school, we had four full classes that were quarantined, that continues. We’ve had some of that happen this week,” said Doug Cardoza, Visalia Unified assistant superintendent of educational services. “We’ve had sporting events that had to be canceled, teams that have had to be quarantined.”

Cardoza said they’re working to keep kids in class full time. But with many teachers in quarantine, he said it’s all hands on deck.

“We’ve got our principals teaching class,” Cardoza said. “We’ve had administrators teach English all day in the classrooms.”

Tulare County Public Health said there are instances where students’ family members at home are feeling sick and are awaiting test results. Meanwhile, the student continues to go to school. And then after the family member tests positive, the student is pulled from school.

“They get them tested and ended up being the child was also positive that whole entire time and didn’t have symptoms. When we don’t break that chain, that’s what contributes to the potential outbreak within the school system,” said Staci Chastain, the deputy director of public health operations with Tulare County’s Health and Human Services.

Chastain urged parents to be mindful of their whereabouts on the weekend and if possible, get their kids tested.

Cardoza said they’re trying to keep kids in school while also ensuring they’re doing what they can to keep them as safe as possible.

“We’re working to keep kids on campus every day, not just for our kids but also for our community and our parents that need to be able to work,” he said.

At Riverdale High School in Riverdale, parents received a letter Wednesday that said due to a growing number of cases, there would be a modified closure of some classes starting Thursday, and the football program is being temporarily paused.

“It makes me feel worried because I want my son, my daughter, my niece, nephew, to learn, but I’m also afraid because they don’t know who they’re going be next to,” said Amelia, a Riverdale High School parent. “They don’t know if they’ll have COVID or not.”

Amelia said one of her children who goes to Riverdale High School recently tested positive for COVID-19. She said she thinks they were exposed at school, and she now wants the option of distance learning.

A spokesperson with Riverdale Joint Unified School District said they’ll be determining who were close contacts of those who have tested positive in the school and that they’ll be communicating that with families in the next day.

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