(Update: Adding Sisters School District update)
SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) – Two COVID-19 cases at Sisters High School and a possible connection to Sisters Middle School closed both schools Thursday, for a return to distance learning, but contact tracing and other steps will allow in-person classes to resume Monday, Superintendent Curt Scholl said.
Here’s an update Scholl emailed Thursday morning to the community:
"We are thankful that we have been open to in-person learning and it is our desire to keep our students in-person as we know that it is best for their social, emotional and academic wellbeing. Unfortunately, yesterday, April 28, 2021, we were notified that two members of Sisters High School tested positive for COVID-19 and initial contact tracing identified a potential connection to our middle school. We paused school today to ensure we did a thorough job of contact tracing to inform our next steps.
"As a result of our contact tracing and working closely with Deschutes County Health Department to respond to this situation and protect the health of our community, we have taken the following steps:
- Impacted individuals have been notified to stay home for 14 days of quarantine. If you have not been notified that your student was exposed, they can return to school on Monday.
- All classrooms and common areas in the school connected with this cohort have been disinfected and deep cleaned.
- All after school activities may resume today.
"We appreciate your efforts to help us prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our school by
- Ensuring we all wear freshly laundered mask each day
- Individuals should stay home when any family member displays any symptoms of illness
- Keep contact bubbles in the community small
- Self-quarantining after travel
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover your coughs and sneezes, and avoid contact with people who have signs of illness.
- Get plenty of rest, exercise, and eat a healthy diet.
"We will keep you updated with any new information as it comes out, while meeting the requirements to honor everyone's right to privacy. More information can be found on the Oregon Department of Education’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners page, the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 page and the SSD website.
"Again, school will resume on Monday for both the middle and high school, unless your student has otherwise been notified.
Sisters School District"
Scholl said in a note to the community on Wednesday that after discussing the situation with Deschutes County health officials, “We need to move grades 5 through 12 to distance learning” Thursday,
"This will allow us the time to conduct more thorough contact tracing to truly identify who was impacted and to help us determine the next steps," Scholl said in an email.
The school district also had canceled all school-related activities for the middle and high schools until Thursday afternoon, while Sisters Elementary had in-person classes Thursday.
Meanwhile, Culver High School also closed and reverted to distance learning for the next two weeks “due to increasing cases of COVID-19,” Superintendent Stefanie Garber informed parents Tuesday.
Students will take part in distance learning from Wednesday through May 11, and plan to return to on-campus learning on Wednesday, May 12, Garber said. “Grab and Go” meals can be picked up at the cafeteria door during normal lunch time, she added.
“Our priority is to keep your students safe,” Garber wrote, “and we regret we have to make this move.”
Parents were told students who need something from school “can call and work with building staff to make arrangements to come pick it up.”