Local COVID spike forces Redmond to delay students’ return to the classroom

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The Redmond School District said Friday a spike in local COVID cases will delay the return to in-person instruction until late February.

The district had planned on returning to full, in-person instruction Feb. 8th, but Superintendent Charan Cline said COVID cases “are not dropping like we’d hope they would.”

Middle and high schoolers were planning on returning to class two days a week beginning Feb. 2nd.

Students will now return the week of Feb. 22nd.

“After every other major social event this year, COVID cases have predictably risen and fallen, but that has not yet happened after the winter holidays,” he said in an email to parents.

Cline cited county COVID numbers that showed there were 793 COVID cases between Jan. 3-16th, which is a rate of 410.9 cases per 100,000 residents.

The state’s new advisory metrics encourage schools to remain in distance learning if the county is above 350 cases per 100,000, Cline said.

“Locally, the number of Redmond School District staff and students who are currently sick or in quarantine has also risen dramatically,” he said. “With so many people sick or in quarantine, it would be difficult if not impossible to staff our schools and restart in-person learning. In addition, as we saw from the 31-person COVID-19 outbreak at St. Charles Redmond this week, the virus is still very active in our town.”

Cline said the good news is that teachers are now starting to get vaccinated and a “vast majority” of district staff that wants a vaccine will get their first shot this weekend.

“Many of our staff members are highly trained and will be difficult to replace if forced to quarantine,” he said. “A start date after the second shot of the vaccine will create stable schools that are much less likely to have to periodically shut down due to cases of COVID-19. A fully vaccinated staff member will not have to quarantine if exposed to the virus.”

You can read Cline’s full statement below.

Reentry Delay -- 1_22_2021
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