Principal ‘distressed by reports of aggressive social media posts’
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The number of Summit High School students who have tested positive for COVID-19 has risen to 24, mostly from exposures to those who attended a party last weekend. As a result, classes by distance learning will continue through next week, the principal said Saturday.
That’s twice as many exposures as reported as of late Thursday, before Bend-La Pine Schools offered free testing on Friday at Pilot Butte Middle School.
Here’s the full text of a letter sent to parents by Principal Michael McDonald:
February 13, 2021
RE: Classes to continue in Comprehensive Distance Learning through Feb.19
Summit High Parents and Guardians,
Thank you for your support as we continue to work with Deschutes County Health Services to complete our COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing.
At the time of this message, Deschutes County has confirmed 24 positive cases of COVID-19 among area youth who attend Summit High School. The plurality of positive cases have self-identified as primary or secondary exposures to those who attended a party in Bend last weekend.
Although students attended school in-person Monday and Tuesday last week, we are relieved to report no current confirmed spread of the virus at school. Safety protocols and excellent adherence to mask-wearing and social-distancing by students and staff at school are likely to thank for the lack of spread in our school or classrooms.
That said, with the growing number of cases, and to prevent spread of the virus that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they have the virus without feeling symptoms, we will continue teaching and learning through Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) through Friday, February 19. Classes will be taught on WebEx and supported through Canvas following the hybrid schedule we started last week. You can find that schedule at this link here or attached below:
At this time, we plan to return to in-person learning the week of Feb. 22. This allows for the equivalent of a precautionary 10-day quarantine, from the last time students were in the building with academics and/or athletics/activities, which was Wednesday, February 10.
Cohort A will return to Monday/Thursday in-person learning and Tuesday/Friday CDL the week of February 22.
Cohort B will return to Monday/Thursday CDL and Tuesday/Friday in-person learning the week of February 22.
In-person athletics and activities will be suspended and resume on Monday, February 22.
This decision is made collaboratively with District leadership and in consultation with Deschutes County Health Services. The decision to continue teaching and learning through next week was done so with the care, seriousness and consideration it deserves.
STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY
At this time, those who were not at the party, and/or not in contact with someone who was at the party, and/or are COVID-19 symptom free are considered low risk for COVID-19 exposure. We want to help you, your student(s), and those around you stay safe and healthy while your student is in CDL next week.
Students and families, please wear a mask and practice physical distancing, avoid group settings and stay at least 6-feet from other people. Additionally, please be aware of the following:
• Monitor for fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell for 14 days from February 8. *Please seek out COVID-19 testing and notify Summit if your student develops symptoms.
• If your (student) temperature is above 100°F at any time, or you get a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell:
- Avoid direct contact with household members and others and wear a mask any time you are in a shared space.
- Contact your primary care provider or urgent care clinic and tell them you were exposed to someone with COVID-19 and have symptoms.
- If you can’t contact your provider and are very ill, call 911, and tell them that you are at risk for COVID-19 and have developed symptoms.
Please be sure to review our COVID-19 Communication Guide symptom checker to learn more about high- and low-risk symptoms, when to stay home, what happens when there is a positive case and more. Click below or download a copy. Or en Español
HEALTH SAFETY RESPONSE TO WEEKEND GATHERINGS
In addition to being tested for COVID-19, individuals who attend or attended gatherings where social distancing and masking are not in place are urged to isolate. We also encourage any other household members of these persons to quarantine to help protect the public. We encourage all families to watch this video to learn more about isolation and quarantine.
Deschutes County Health Services also encourages anyone who may have been in contact with a person or persons positive with COVID-19, and/or who live with elderly or medically fragile family members, to consider isolating from those family members and assume the youth or adult may be contagious.
The COVID-19 hotline has staff available by phone to answer questions about COVID-19, isolation and quarantine. Due to the Presidents Day holiday, the line will reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 16. Beginning Feb. 16, you can contact the hotline at 541-699-5109, seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. You are also welcome to contact our school nurse or leadership team.
READY FOR RETURN
We have completed deep cleaning of our classrooms and common areas in the school, have manually wiped down hundreds of surfaces, and left air scrubbers on overnight and came back next day and did the deep cleaning, plus sprayed entire school twice.
It is my sincere wish that everyone who is ill is able to recover and that we were able to act fast enough to contain this outbreak. I have heard from many families, students, community members, and staff members during the past week who are experiencing feelings of frustration, anger, sadness and fear brought on by this outbreak. These are all reasonable responses. We are here to connect with students
who need support during this time. Please reach out to our counseling, nursing and administrative staff, visit our Student Mental Health webpage or review our list of resources for mental health during COVID-19.
Tips to help with mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:
· Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
· Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
I hope this event will serve as a learning opportunity to our community. We are all ready for the pandemic to be over and to “go back to normal.” But we are not there yet. We need to redouble our efforts at masking, distancing and staying home when ill if we want to resume some “normal” activities like in-person learning and athletics. We must all remember that our actions outside of school have a huge impact on what can happen inside our buildings. This includes how we react to these events. I am distressed by reports of aggressive social media posts taking place within the Summit community. This will not help the current situation get better, get us back to school sooner, or strengthen us in anyway. We appreciate students and families who notified us of the emerging situation so that we could activate our COVID-19 response plans and begin mitigation. Thanks to prompt and coordinated actions by many, including case investigation and contact tracing, we are slowing the spread in our community. As always, I am grateful for your patience and support in this challenging time.