Rory Devine

No Link Between School Reopenings and Surge in Coronavirus Cases

NBC Universal, Inc.

California's top doctor said this week the state has been closely monitoring schools for any sign of rising infections as smaller counties resume in-person learning.

"So far we have found nothing," he said.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, said there is no link, so far, between school reopenings and surges in COVID-19 cases.

The assessment comes at the same time three students in the Santee School District tested positive for the coronavirus. One student who attends Carlton Hills Elementary School tested positive Friday afternoon. Two students from the same family who attend Hill Creek Elementary School tested positive Sunday night and Monday morning, respectively.

District Superintendent Dr. Kristin Baranski said the students who tested positive may have been at the schools two days before realizing they were sick. What happened next is key. 

"The parents did a really good job in these three cases making sure their kids stayed home when they were starting symptoms," Baranski said.

The school quarantined cohorts or small groups of students and the teachers who came in contact with the positive cases. The school communities were notified immediately.  

Dr. Ghaly said so far it is encouraging to see the schools and families following protocols and doing what is necessary to stop the spread.

Superintendent Baranski said, “I do have to believe there is something to that.  You think about what schools used to look like and what they look like now, talk about hygiene right?"  

Like many schools, those in the Santee School District are taking temperature checks of students before they enter school, there are hand washing stations, social distancing in the classrooms, and students and teachers must wear masks.

“If you look at Santee, we have 5,300 students back in person and to have three cases come up in this last week is not extraordinary,” said Baranski, who noted the district is confident the students did not contract the virus while at school.

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