Wednesday, June 29, 2022
June 29, 2022

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COVID-19 cases declining in Clark County school districts

Staff shortages, contact tracing still challenge school officials

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Reported COVID-19 cases in Clark County schools are continuing to decline after weeks of record-setting totals.

Schools on Wednesday reported 870 new virus cases. The total does not include weekly case totals from the Camas School District. Those results were not available Wednesday.

Health officials have warned that the increased use of at-home tests and difficulties providing in-office tests means that the true number of COVID-19 infections is likely to exceed the official statistics.

Districts are also continuing to struggle with staffing shortages and contact tracing as weekly totals remain in the hundreds in some areas.

The following data can be found for each school district on the Clark County Public Health website. It is typically updated by each district weekly.

Evergreen Public Schools reported 151 new cases between Jan. 31 and Feb. 6 — down from 247 reported cases in the previous week.

Vancouver Public Schools reported 374 new cases between Feb. 2 and Feb. 8 — down from 458 cases in the previous week, which was the highest single-week total Vancouver had recorded since beginning weekly record-keeping in September 2020. Students accounted for 303 of the new cases, while 71 were among staff members — an increase from the 53 staff cases last week. Twenty-eight of the new cases, they reported, were determined to be in-school transmission, down from 47 last week.

Battle Ground Public Schools reported 175 new cases between Jan. 29 and Feb. 4 — down from 262 in the previous week. Students accounted for 149 of those new cases, with 26 among staff members.

The Ridgefield School District reported 43 new cases between Feb. 2 and Feb. 7 — down from 79 in the previous week. Students accounted for 41 of the new cases, with just two among staff members.

The Hockinson School District reported 41 new cases between Feb. 2 and Feb. 9 — a slight increase from 35 the previous week. The district also reported that 22 students and staff had been identified as close contacts and 11 additional students were out sick with COVID-19 symptoms.

The Washougal School District reported 40 new cases between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, a slight increase from 31 in the previous week. Students accounted for 32 of those new cases, while eight were among staff members.

The La Center School District reported 46 new cases between Jan. 29 and Feb. 4, down from 84 cases in the previous week. Students accounted for 43 of these new cases, while just three were among staff members. The district also identified two students and two staff members as close contacts.

State officials gave somewhat mixed signals on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in schools on Wednesday.

In a press release, state schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal said it’s time to consider the pandemic an “endemic,” and moved to recommend that the state Department of Health and governor make masking a local health department decision for students in K-12 schools.

“The combination of widespread vaccinations and much higher infection acquired immunity due to the pervasive omicron variant has changed the landscape of the pandemic once again,” Reykdal said on Wednesday. “I believe it is time to carefully plan our move from a pandemic response to an endemic system of readiness.”

With a tad more hesitancy, however, Gov. Jay Inslee said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that he would not yet lift the indoor mask mandate in Washington — though we’re getting closer to that as a possibility.

Inslee’s sentiments echoed that of the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said Tuesday that masks are still the best way to maximize protection against COVID-19 transmission in schools.

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