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News / Health / Clark County Health

Camas High School COVID-19 case count grows

District now says it has 13 confirmed cases, 33 close contacts

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 11, 2021, 3:39pm

The Camas School District announced Thursday it now has 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases involving students who attend Camas High School and an additional 33 Camas students who are identified as close contacts.

The change in case numbers followed further contact tracing efforts, the district said.

Superintendent Jeff Snell said in a statement there’s no confirmed spread at the school among students or staff. Students had returned to in-person classes Monday and Tuesday as part of the start of hybrid instruction at Clark County’s largest high school.

“We will continue to follow up as we receive test results and work through the contact tracing process,” Snell said. “We want our students back in school and ask for our community’s help in following public health guidance outside of school.”

The district first said Wednesday it is voluntarily pausing in-person instruction at the 2,185-student high school for the rest of the week after several students tested positive for COVID-19 following an off-site social gathering event March 5.

The district’s preliminary numbers had nine confirmed cases of students with COVID-19 and 26 confirmed close contacts. The district continues to work with Clark County Public Health to identify all close contacts who may have been exposed, Public Health spokeswoman Marissa Armstrong said.

Rory Oster, the school’s athletic director and one of three designated contact tracers, said Thursday the district has learned of around 30 teenagers who attended the event at a residence last Friday. He added not all attend Camas High.

“We have names of kids who were not on our student roster,” he said. “I have no idea at this time where they attend.”

Oster said the positive COVID-19 cases stretch into the high school’s football and cheerleading programs. While all extracurricular practices and contests remain postponed through the weekend, Oster hopes they’re reinstated as soon as Monday. He’s encouraging varsity and junior varsity football players to get tested for COVID-19, and suggested the team self-quarantines.

“I want to get every kid that’s available to participate back on Monday,” he said.

District spokeswoman Doreen McKercher said two-thirds of the student enrollment is doing twice-a-week, in-person instruction.

Roughly 800 were supposed to be in classes for in-person learning Thursday and Friday before the district put a pause to it.

The district plans to release more information Friday.