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District defers to Tribal Council COVID-19 task force decision to slow Omicron spread

PMG PHOTO: PIONEER FILE - Warm Springs K-8 Academy will close from Monday, Jan. 10 through Friday, Jan. 14. The Tribal COVID-19 task force is taking measures to slow the spread of the Omicron variant across the reservation.

Warm Springs Academy will close from Monday, Jan. 10 through Friday, Jan. 14.

In a letter to the 509-J Community Superintendent Jay Mathisen said, "In partnership with Warm Springs, 509-J has deferred to Tribal Council and their COVID-19 task force for protocols to protect individuals against COVID-19 through the pandemic on tribal lands."

The letter says current numbers of COVID-related absences for students and staff did not drive the decision.

"We are making this decision to be good partners with the Tribes while they take precautionary measures to slow the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant as case counts increase across the Warm Springs community." continued Mathisen.

A Warm Springs community COVID update reports 27 new COVID cases Friday, Jan. 7. The report lists 139 people with active COVID in Warm Springs, another 11 presumptive cases, and 56 people who've had close contact with the virus.

The report posted at KWSO.org says, "The spike in cases and exposures has led to staffing issues and concerns for employees and community health."

Mathisen's letter says 509-J will provide an update Monday, Jan. 10, regarding student services such as student work and meals.


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