COVID-19 outbreak reported among East Grand’s sixth grade class
A COVID-19 outbreak at East Grand Middle School has led to online learning for the entire sixth-grade class.
East Grand Superintendent Frank Reeves reported to the school board on Tuesday that roughly 30 COVID-19 cases have been identified in the 97-student sixth-grade class.
Reeves added that there are a total of 53 COVID-19 cases in the East Grand School District, with seven of those being staff members.
Reeves said he made the decision to move all sixth-grade classes online after more than 40% of students had to quarantine because they tested positive for COVID-19 or had a family member who tested positive.
He said that, along with helping to stop spread if possible, the online pivot is meant to give students the best learning experience with nearly half of the class already having to stay home.
He added that not all students in the sixth grade were required to quarantine, but they all will have their classes online.
“The sixth grade thing was my choice,” Reeves said. “Whether it was right or wrong, we’re going to learn from that and move on … We’re taking those things individually when we get to that point and saying, ‘What makes the most sense?’”
Grand County Public Health Medical Officer Dr. Jason Stuerman updated the school board on East Grand’s COVID-19 cases, saying that 83% were found to be sports-related or from an exposure outside of school.
Administrators for the schools added that the relaxed quarantining and isolation guidelines, along with following mask guidance from the health department, have already helped to keep more students in class as compared to last year.
Serial testing was raised as a possibility for students during the board meeting, as the state has adjusted its guidelines to allow schools to get the serial testing program even if less than 70% of students participate.
Reeves said the district is in the process of getting ready to serial test, but has not yet received the kits from the state.
Additionally, the administrative burden of distributing and tracking these tests is something that the district will have to figure out how to handle. Reeves emphasized that serial testing, which would only occur with parent consent, would help reduce the spread of COVID.
Stuerman added that roughly 20% of COVID-19 cases reported countywide since Aug. 15 have been in children under 18. There were no pediatric hospitalizations in Grand County as of Tuesday.
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