Olympia High School students are learning remotely this week because of a large number of students and staff in quarantine.
Superintendent Laura O’Donnell said a positive case reported Friday at the high school put the district over the 15% absence rate that had previously been set as a benchmark to consider a move to remote learning.
As of Monday evening, there were 160 students districtwide who were in quarantine either because of COVID-like symptoms or close contacts with someone testing positive for COVID-19, said O’Donnell. Half of those were high school students. The district has 525 high school students, although 50 opted for remote learning this semester.
The district hopes to resume in-person classes Monday, but after another student received a positive test result Tuesday, O’Donnell said, “We’ll have to wait to see how the rest of the week progresses.”
There are no staff cases currently but a couple of staff members are out because they had close contact with someone who tested positive.
Parents will be notified by 3 p.m. Friday about whether in-person classes will resume Monday, O'Donnell said.
If high school classes remain remote, that could help with staffing at other schools because the high school substitute teacher pool could be used for other buildings, she said.
In many student cases, especially at the elementary level, the close contacts involve family members, not necessarily fellow students, she said.
The district has been doing extra cleaning since resuming classes. In addition, “every time we have a positive case, we follow the student’s schedule and do deep cleaning in those places where they’ve been,” said O’Donnell.