PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Lake Oswego School District has canceled all school-related activities this weekend in an effort to minimize the risk of students and staff catching the coronavirus. One school within the district has been shut down through Wednesday, March 4, for deep cleaning after an employee at the school tested positive for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
At a press conference Saturday, Superintendent Dr. Lora de la Cruz clarified the Forest Hills Elementary School employee’s status. She said the worker’s role with the district does not involve interaction with children.
“February 19th was the last date on which the employee who became ill was in the school,” said De la Cruz. “What we know at this time is that the kind of contact that this person typically has in a day is not the kind that would be required to transmit the virus.”
Any contact with other staff members occurred off-campus while they were visiting the patient at Kaiser Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro. Those who visited the infected employee have been asked to stay home and are currently being evaluated.
When asked if school officials have found an increase in absences, the superintendent said that they are still investigating.
“At this time, our district nurse, Ann Nelson, is in close contact with attendance records, with reports of illnesses, with students who may have immune systems that are compromised, and she is working with families,” said De la Cruz.
De la Cruz added that an industrial cleaning company has been contracted to conduct a full deep clean of Forest Hills Elementary. Other schools in the Lake Oswego School District and all buses used by the district will also be evaluated, cleaned and disinfected before school commences on Monday.
Dr. Sarah Present, Deputy Tri-County Public Health Officer for Clackamas County, also asked for those who are sick to stay home. She asked businesses to step up to assist those who need to take time off of work to care for themselves or someone else.
“We are recommending to businesses in our community to evaluate their sick leave plans and ensure that there is [a] capacity for them to stay home if they are ill or when they have to care for an ill family member,” said Present.
She said she believed that other schools in the district are not at risk, so they will remain open. If something changes, that plan of action will be updated.
“At this time, there is no indication that other schools in the district are at risk,” said Present. “There is no reason to limit your exposure to children or others in this school community due to the potential exposure unless they themselves are ill.”
Forest Hills Elementary is the only school in the LOSD with a reported exposure, de la Cruz said.