COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — More than 200 students of Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene are in quarantine or isolation due to COVID-19, a school district official said on Wednesday.
Scott Maben, a spokesperson for Coeur d'Alene Public Schools, told KREM that 206 students at Lake City High School are currently in quarantine due to close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 or are in isolation due to a positive result.
This means about 14% of the 1,479 students enrolled at Lake City High School are out for reasons related to COVID-19. There are no staff members at Lake City High School who are in quarantine due to coronavirus exposure, Maben said.
Most of the students who are in quarantine are due to return to school next week and about 100 of them may return on Tuesday alone, Maben said.
Students in the Coeur d'Alene School District began attending in-person classes five days a week on Monday, Oct. 5 after previously participating in hybrid learning.
Face masks are required and students will be socially distanced when possible. In a letter to parents, however, the district says that "social distancing is not possible in most of our classrooms, so students will be expected to wear masks during class as long as the Panhandle Health District mask mandate remains in place."
Maben said a total of 15 students or staff members at Lake City High School have tested positive for coronavirus since the school year began.
Those who have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive are notified to quarantine for 14 days from the last known exposure. People diagnosed with COVID-19 should be home for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms, according to Maben.
The school district is "reasonably confident" that it has had one instance of in-school transmission this year and leaders suspect they may have at least one other, Maben said. The majority of cases in the district, though, appear to be related to activity outside of school.
The district and PHD work together to determine whether changes need to be made to the operating status for schools. Maben said considerations such as the number of quarantined students and staff, the overall absences of student for all reasons, the number of teachers out and the availability of substitute teachers all are factors in these decisions.
Maben mentioned that only three staff members are out at Lake City High School and substitute coverage has been "very good."
"We’re concerned anytime a student or employee contracts COVID-19, and we hope each person recovers quickly. We continue to be concerned about the health and safety of all students and staff, and we have confidence in the safety measures we put in place as part of our reopening plan," Maben wrote in a statement to KREM.
"The best way to ensure we can have students in classrooms with teachers is for everyone to follow CDC and Panhandle Health guidelines at all times, both in school and outside of school. Practice social distancing, wear your mask, avoid large crowds, and wash your hands frequently," he continued.
A dashboard with information about positive COVID-19 tests and quarantine notification is available on the Coeur d'Alene Public Schools website.
Lake City Principal Deanne Clifford also released a statement to KREM:
While we do have a large number of students who are in quarantine, our students are trying hard to follow the guidelines and protocols here at school, including wearing masks and social distancing when practical. In fact, I commented on our school announcements today just how proud I am of students for continuing to follow our protocols.
We are so grateful that school is in session and that our activities are continuing. We want to keep it this way. Kids are so happy to be in school and we are doing everything we can to continue to provide a safe environment for students and staff and keep our school open.
Students, much like the rest of our nation, are feeling a sense of mask fatigue. We do run into the occasional student who is wearing their mask improperly or taking a quick unauthorized mask break. We address those situations as we come across them. We understand that masks are uncomfortable, although I have seen some pretty cool fashion statements on kids' faces lately.
I also would like to comment on the sincere appreciation we feel for our Timberwolf families. Parents are reaching out by email and phone to clarify information about their children and are absolutely kind and understanding toward me and our team. These kind words and support for our teachers and staff have been nothing short of amazing. We appreciate the heart-felt concern and empathy. We are all in this together and will arrive on the other side stronger than ever!