Thursday, December 9, 2021
Dec. 9, 2021

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Clatskanie School District delays school to Sept. 13 due to COVID-19


LONGVIEW — The Clatskanie School District is delaying the first day of school until at least Sept. 13 after a “significant increase” of COVID-19 cases and exposures in students, staff and the community, Superintendent Cathy Hurowitz said.

“We had staff and students with COVID-19 and we had a lot of students in quarantine that have been exposed,” she said. “Plus, Columbia County does not have a hospital so staff and students use St. John and we know St. John is overwhelmed with COVID patients. This community has had several losses to COVID so we just thought to keep things safe we wanted to pause and wait a couple weeks until the students and staff are out of quarantine and everybody is safe to go back.”

The first day could be pushed to Sept. 20, depending on the situation. On Aug. 26, Columbia County saw 26 new cases and had a seven-day case rate of 332 cases per 100,000 people. The seven-day average of new cases is 25 per day, according to the Oregon Health Authority. There have been 34 reported deaths in the county.

Clatskanie’s ZIP code has 319 total COVID-19 cases attributed to it, of the roughly 6,080 people in the ZIP code area. A weekly breakdown was not available per ZIP code.

Hurowitz said the district was working to find ways to make up the lost instructional days.

While the district already has more days planned than mandated by the state, “we want to make sure our students don’t lose any time.”

The district did not want to move to remote learning because it is not as successful as in-person instruction, Hurowitz said, and “we want our students in class with our teachers.”

“It is a really heavy lift for students and staff,” she said. “This (delay) is what we’re doing to avoid going remote.”

Hurowitz said the district will provide more updates as decisions are made, and asked families to stay close to their emails and social media for updates.

“This is just a pause,” she said. “We will be making up that time and we want everybody to be safe.”