Hillsboro School District preschool closed after COVID-19 case
A preschool in the Hillsboro School District will be closed for more than a week after a student tested positive for COVID-19.
District officials closed Falcon's Nest Preschool on Wednesday, Sept. 15, following the student's positive test, said Beth Graser, spokesperson for the district.
Students in the class are expected to return on Sept. 27, she said.
The closure comes less than a week after classes began for the new school year districtwide.
"Consistent mask-wearing and distancing is particularly difficult for 3 and 4-year-olds, so we decided the 10-day closure would keep students and staff the safest," Graser said.
She added that the 23 students in the preschool would be provided with educational packets to complete over the closure period.
The preschool, which is housed at Liberty High School, is part of a career and technical education program in which high schoolers who have completed a child development course teach the class along with a certified teacher, according to the school's website.
Graser said high school students in the CTE program have been notified of the student's positive test and school closure.
According to the district's policy, vaccinated people found to have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 are allowed to remain at schools, as long as they don't develop primary symptoms. The policy also applies to people who have recovered from COVID-19 with the last 90 days.
It is recommended that such people get tested three to five days after their exposure.
People who test positive are directed to quarantine for 10 days.
A close contact is defined as being less than 6 feet away from a positive case for a cumulative 15 minutes or more in one day.
As an exception, students who were within 3 to 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 are not considered exposed if both students were correctly wearing masks and if other prevention strategies were in place such as increased ventilation.
For unvaccinated people found to be a close contact of someone who tested positive, they are required to quarantine for 10 days.
In response to the closure of Falcon's Nest Preschool, Graser said teachers and staff will continue efforts to remind the students to keep their masks on properly, wash their hands and maintain distance.
In addition to the preschool's closure, two staff/volunteers and one student in different buildings in the district tested positive for COVID-19 last week, according to the Oregon Health Authority's weekly outbreak report.
The cases included staff/volunteers at Farmington View Elementary School and Evergreen Middle School and a student at Brown Middle School.
Graser said she couldn't provide details about how many people were directed to do what by district nurses as part of contact tracing in response to the positive cases.
"In the case of a general exposure, people are given a heads-up notification with no requirement to quarantine unless they become symptomatic," Graser said. "In the case of a close contact, there will likely be a requirement to quarantine and get tested, unless the person has already been vaccinated — in which case there is no requirement to quarantine, but a recommendation to get tested 3-5 days after the potential exposure."
Other districts in the Portland area have seen more extensive closures following the start of the new school year.
Students and staff in seven classes throughout the Beaverton School District are in quarantine after they were exposed to at least one presumptive positive COVID-19 case in their classrooms, district officials confirmed Thursday, Sept. 16.
Additionally, more than 600 students and staff in Portland Public Schools are out of the classroom due to quarantine measures, OPB reported Wednesday.
In Troutdale, Reynolds High School has temporarily switched over to distance learning after 900 students and staff had to quarantine.
Graser didn't directly address whether the closures of classes nearby are particularly concerning to the Hillsboro School District.
"Our goal is certainly to avoid having to quarantine entire classrooms or schools, and rather to quickly identify and isolate those who have tested positive so others can continue coming to school each day," she said.
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