Rural Los Gatos school district to reopen after Covid outbreak

After a COVID-19 outbreak forced Loma Prieta Union School District to shut down last week, the rural Los Gatos schools will reopen Wednesday for in-person instruction, the superintendent announced Tuesday.

Loma Prieta Joint Union School District, which includes an elementary and middle school on a single campus with 432 students near the Santa Cruz Mountains, has been closed since Friday after the discovery of nine positive cases last week that affected both students and staff.

On Friday, Loma Prieta began measuring the extent of the outbreak and administered rapid tests to its student body. Seventy-percent of the tests results have come in and all are negative so far, Superintendent Kevin Grier said in a news release. “Nearly” all staff have been tested, and those results have also come back all negative. Student testing will continue until Thursday.

Grier “strongly” recommended parents whose children have not already been tested to do so.

Starting Oct. 18, the school district said it would start conducting free weekly COVID-19 testing for students who receive parental consent. He added that the county’s Office of Education has informed the district that it will most likely be able to host a vaccine clinic on Nov. 1 for children ages five and up. On Oct. 7, Pfizer requested the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its vaccine for children ages five to 11. An answer from the federal agency is expected within weeks.

“As soon as we know more information on the time frame and the number of appointment slots per hour, we will provide a way for our parents to sign up for an appointment,” Grier wrote in a Oct. 12 announcement. Grier did not immediately respond for a request for comment. In California, children 17 and under make up 14.6 percent of statewide cases.

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Author: Gabriel Greschler