Schools open despite student testing positive for coronavirus


School officials made an announcement Sunday

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Hillsboro School District said all schools will open on Monday — despite a student in the district testing positive for the coronavirus just days before.

The student who tested positive for the coronavirus goes to South Meadows Middle School. The district said the student was in school when they started showing mild symptoms on Tuesday.

Hillsboro middle school student tests positive for virus

Since that time, health officials said the student has been in self-isolation. Parents aren’t sure if the school should be reopened so quickly. Some are worried regardless of assurances by the school superintendent that it was cleaned Friday, Sunday and again Monday morning. Cleaners in white suits and face masks could be seen from the schools window’s early Monday.

Kim Hastings has a student at South Meadows. She’s sending them back to class with the expectation they’ll be just fine.

“I have very healthy children,” she said. “It would be a completely different story if my children were not okay but they are — they’re good and they are healthy.”

The Hillsboro School District decided to keep the school open at the advice of the Washington County Health Authority.

Cleaners inside South Meadows Middle School the Monday after a student tested positive for coronavirus. March 9, 2020.

“We are following the guidance of the Oregon Health Authority and Washington County Health Authority,” said Mike Scott, Hillsboro School District Superintendent. “My understanding is that the virus does not spread through that casual contact.”

Dr. Christina Baumann, Health Officer for Washington County, highlighted what they’re advising.

“Right now, rather than close the school, we are emphasizing the importance of not attending schools, going to work or public gatherings if you have any symptoms of illness,” she said.

Full KOIN 6 News coronavirus coverage

KOIN 6 asked the superintendent if parents could opt out of sending their kids back to school. He said they encourage students to come to school because every day matters. He added that students are not in a high-risk population.

Officials later in the day confirmed that 318 students — about 45% of the middle school population — stayed home from school on Monday.

Eight out of 14 of those who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Oregon are living in Washington County.

KOIN 6 News will continue to cover this story.

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