BRENWOOD (CBS SF/BCN) — The Brentwood Union School District reported at least a dozen cases of COVID-19 among students and staff at the district’s 11 schools Monday morning, days after the district returned to personal learning.
“This does not mean that students and staff have contracted COVID in school,” said district superintendent Dana Eaton. “We currently have no cases where contact tracing has shown that someone at school has contracted COVID from a positive person.”
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Eaton said Contra Costa’s health department has told the district to expect positive cases. As of Monday morning, those showing symptoms and those exposed to COVID have not yet tested positive for the virus.
“The positivity rate in schools probably reflects that of the communities they live in,” Eaton said. “Currently there have been 205 positive cases in Brentwood in the last 14 days, so the schools are expected to have cases.”
Health officials told the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors last week that the delta variety is now the dominant species in the county. The virus has resurfaced in the province, with four times as many new hospitalizations reported in July than in June. More than 99 percent of the deaths in Contra Costa since vaccines became available have been unvaccinated.
Eaton said the district follows state safety guidelines and requires indoor masks regardless of vaccination status. Officials also emphasize hand washing, cleaning and sanitation protocols.
Andrea Erwin says she is concerned about the 2 positive COVID cases at Garin Elementary, where her 7-year-old son attends school.
“I’m nervous. I really didn’t want to send my son to school this morning. He hasn’t been vaccinated. It puts him in danger.”
While others said COVID cases would inevitably emerge.
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“I know they’re doing their best and going back to school was kind of our top priority,” said one parent.
“The benefit of being in school and interacting, I think, is on a much larger scale than the concern I would have that they might contact here,” said another.
Eaton said the students will stay in school.
“There is currently no legislation allowing schools to revert to hybrid or distance learning,” he said. “Schools are expected by the state to provide full-time in-person instruction and follow (state) guidelines to keep students and staff safe.”
The district has a long checklist of steps to take as soon as a positive case comes in, including notifying a school’s district leadership and nursing team. Contact tracing is done and families are notified. Affected classrooms are cleaned. The district also publishes a dashboard of all known cases on its website.
“We are very happy to be back in school full-time,” said Eaton. “We want to do everything we can to keep it that way.”
Katie Nielsen contributed to this report.
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