Suburban Seattle high school closed over new virus concerns

BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) — A suburban Seattle high school was closed Thursday after a staffer’s family member was placed in quarantine for showing symptoms of possibly contracting the new virus that started in China – an action health officials say is unnecessary.

Bothell High school, bout 20 miles (32 kilometers) northeast of Seattle, will be cleaned and disinfected on Thursday while students stay home, Northshore School District superintendent Michelle Reid said in an email to families Wednesday night.

“These steps are being taken out of an abundance of caution,” Reid said.

The risk to the school’s students and other staff members is minimal, the Washington Department of Health said in a letter. And the local health department, Public Health Seattle & King County, said in a statement that the closure wasn’t needed.

“Closing schools when there has not been a confirmed case in a student or staff member is not currently recommended by Public Health — Seattle & King County or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” the health department said. ’We know that school districts act out of extra special caution when they are protecting children.”

The Bothell High School staff member had returned to work Monday after a week of international travel. The staffer told school officials that a family member also on the trip became sick Tuesday and was taken to the hospital.

The family member is quarantined and undergoing treatment at a hospital after showing possible signs of contracting coronavirus. The test results for the sicked family member may take up to a week. No other information about the person, or where the travel took place, was disclosed.

Reid said the school staffer is not sick, but is in self-quarantine at home.

Image courtesy Northshore School District

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