Klamath Falls City Schools confirmed its first COVID-19 case on Monday, according to school officials.
The COVID-19-positive at Pelican Elementary School last week prompted the school to quarantine the individual and at least 11 people within their student cohort, according to school officials.
Michelle McCabe, in her fourth year as principal of Pelican Elementary, said the school was making every effort to keep students safe at Pelican Elementary through cleaning and other COVID-19 protocols. Tuesday is the last day of in-person classes before Thanksgiving break, after which comprehensive distance learning begins on Nov. 30.
“We worked with the health department and our nurse to follow the protocols for ensuring the safety of all of our kids and staff,” McCabe said. “We notified all the other families in the school just to know there has been a positive case … if they aren’t directly in contact with that individual, it’s just more of a notification … (that) there was a case.
“We’ve taken steps and protocols to make sure that we were keeping everybody healthy and safe,” she added.
Custodians at the school were all notified of the case and were directed to conduct a deep cleaning of the school, McCabe said. She added that Pelican has been cleaned between morning and afternoon cohorts, as well as before and after school.
She also emphasized that her staff has been vigilant in wearing masks and following protocols set in place by the CDC and in conjunction with COVID-19 care coordinator Wendy Niskanen.
McCabe said it would be up to Klamath County Public Health to make the call of whether to close a school due to COVID-19.
“I know there’s lots of cases in the community and that unfortunately affects schools as well so ... we just want to make sure everybody’s doing their part and then that can help us return to school as soon as possible,” she said.
McCabe said the in-person time has been excellent for students and staff since returning in early November.
“Kids have been excited to be back, the classes are smaller … schools’ very quiet, there’s no behavior issues,” McCabe said. “The kids are doing great with their masks ... we’re very sad that we have to go back to distance learning because there’s some very great learning that’s been going on,” she added.
She said she’s understanding of parents and guardians who are nervous about students attending the last day of in-person school on Tuesday, before Thanksgiving break and then the transition back to online-only education.
“We encourage them to come to school as well because we’re following the CDC guidelines,” McCabe said. “Is it expected that there’s sometimes a case? You know, probably. It’s no fun, it’s definitely no fun, but … I will stand by our school 100% in the seriousness that we take the safety at Pelican.”