4th grade class quarantined days after teacher death


KELSO, Wash. (KOIN) — A 4th grade class at Barnes Elementary School has been quarantined after a student tested positive in the class, and the teacher died earlier this week.

An undated photo of Karen James. (Courtesy of longtime friend)

On Sept. 23, Barnes Elementary School teacher Karen James told parents through a parent-teacher messaging app she tested positive for COVID-19 and she would be out of the classroom for a period of time.

By Monday, she was gone. Parents told KOIN 6 News they got a phone call from the principal at Barnes Elementary informing them of her death. But parents said the school failed to disclose the COVID-19 case in the classroom.

A district official confirmed to KOIN 6 on Friday morning that after another student tested positive, the kids in the class have been told to quarantine through October 7. Kids can return to class October 11. They will be doing remote learning.

Under state guidelines, the health district said the school is only required to notify someone if they are considered close contact. But several parents told KOIN 6 News they think the entire classroom should be notified so parents can make their own decisions about what steps to take.

The district said two people showed up to demonstrate outside of the district offices on Friday.

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