100 Escondido Students, Employees Quarantined Over COVID Exposures
Students and staff members at four schools and the district’s facilities department have tested positive, prompting the quarantines.
Escondido, California — Only two days after the Escondido Union School District returned to hybrid learning last week, about 100 students and staff members have been quarantined for 10 days.
NBC San Diego reports that 18 employees and 81 students at four schools in San Diego County have been quarantined after it was discovered the campuses had positive COVID-19 cases: four at Farr Elementary, one at Pioneer Elementary, one at Rock Springs Elementary and one at Mission Middle School. Additionally, one employee at the district’s maintenance and operations department tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Our city struggles with a high case rate, and our community includes many multi-generational families. This makes for a challenging environment,” Superintendent Dr. Luis Rankins-Ibarra told CNN. “It is unfortunate that individuals still come to campus while they are awaiting COVID test results or after having close contact with someone who is positive, or while they are feeling ill.”
Rankins-Ibarra says the positive cases and quarantines were not unexpected, but the district has robust protocols in place, including temperature checks, portable air-filtration systems, physical distancing between desks and the requirement that everyone where a face covering.
The positive cases and quarantines are very concerning to teachers in the district, as well as across the nation. Many have been saying for weeks now that they don’t want to return to provide face-to-face instruction until they are vaccinated.
However, there is political pressure to bring students back to campus, especially now that experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that when schools adopt appropriate COVID-19 mitigation strategies, there is little risk of coronavirus transmission with in-person learning.
Rankins-Ibarra says the district’s contact tracing efforts indicate the current cases his district has were not transmitted on campus. Instead, he thinks they were brought in from the community, reports NBC San Diego.
He says the decision to return to hybrid learning, which limits the number of students in a classroom to 12, was based on the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases in the San Diego area.
The district has 23 campuses and approximately 8,700 students.
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