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Friday, September 29, 2023
Sept. 29, 2023

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COVID in Clark County schools continues steep decline

Weekly case totals down by nearly half in many districts

By , Columbian staff writer

Reported COVID-19 cases in Clark County schools are rapidly declining, matching a trend being seen on the county and state level.

School districts are reporting 251 new cases in the last week, a decrease from 574 cases the previous week. Weekly totals from the La Center School District, however, were not made available on 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 Monday holiday and a handful of snow-related closures on Tuesday also may limit last week’s case totals.

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 72 new cases between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20 — a nearly 50 percent decrease from the 143 cases in the previous week.

Vancouver Public Schools reported 74 new cases between Feb. 16 and Feb. 22 — a decrease from 135 cases in the previous week, similar to Evergreen. Students accounted for 56 of these new cases, while 18 were among staff members.

Battle Ground Public Schools reported 59 new cases between Feb. 12 and Feb. 18 — down from 108 cases in the previous week. Students accounted for 54 of these new cases, while five were among staff members.

The Camas School District reported 25 new cases between Feb. 13 and Feb. 19 — down from the 104 cases that The Columbian reported as part of last week’s update. Previous delays in case totals were due to lags in testing data, the district said. Camas’ numbers are now fully up to date. Students accounted for 22 of these new cases, while three were among staff members.

The Ridgefield School District reported 15 new cases between Feb. 15 and Feb. 21 — a decrease from 46 cases in the previous week. Students accounted for all of these new cases.

The Hockinson School District reported four new cases between Feb. 16 and Feb. 23 — down from eight cases in the previous week. The district reported that three other students and staff members had been identified as close contacts, and that another 24 students were out sick with COVID-19 symptoms.

The Washougal School District reported two new cases between Feb. 16 and Feb. 23 — down from 10 cases in the previous week. Both of these new cases were among students.

Though still in the hundreds, this week’s case total is but a fraction of the peak of nearly 1,700 weekly cases that Clark County school districts were reporting for two weeks in mid-January.

In a joint press conference last week, Gov. Jay Inslee and state Superintendent of Schools Chris Reykdal unveiled Washington’s plan for lifting the indoor mask mandate by March 21. Until then, school districts will continue to enforce the mandate for staff, students and visitors alike.

After March 21, students in Washington schools may still wear masks while in class if they so choose.