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COVID-19 cases popping up in schools as kids head back to class

Parents are sharing their concerns as COVID-19 cases continue to pop up in local schools.

Posted: Sep 15, 2021 8:11 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. -- With the new school year underway for many districts, parents are expressing concerns as COVID-19 cases have already started to pop up in schools.

Eugene School District 4J officials told KEZI as of Sep. 14, they've had 11 positive COVID-19 cases in the district. Kerry Delf with 4J said when the district is notified of a positive case, they immediately start contact tracing. She said this might lead to everyone in the individual's cohort staying home for a day or two until the tracing is done.

Delf wants families to be aware of this possibility and be prepared for their student to stay home -- just in case. She encourages families to do their part at home as well to reduce the spread.

"We know that COVID is in our community. We know that there will be cases at school," Delf said. "What we need to do is work to ensure that we are using the multi-layered prevention strategies, so that we have not just one measure, not just two measures but many measures that together work to reduce the risk."

Overall, she said they're happy with how students have been following the guidelines.

4J parent Mel Bradshaw told KEZI she's concerned because when her kids get sick with even a common cold, they tend to end up in the hospital.

All three of her kids are attending school in person.

Bradshaw said when case numbers in the community started rising towards the end of the summer, she requested online learning, but they were waitlisted.

She said it's tough because her kids are really enjoying in-person learning, but she's worried they will be the next to get the virus.

"Their happiness counts for something too," Bradshaw said. "If we do get that call, I would personally want to take them out, but it would have to be a family choice, and it would also depend on how COVID cases are doing."

She said it's a day-by-day journey, and she tries to do her part in stopping the spread by sanitizing all of her kid's school supplies as soon as they get home.

4J officials said many families are interested in online learning, but the vast majority of students are back in school. They said if space becomes available to increase staffing or someone switches from remote to in-person learning, the next name on the online waiting list will get a call.

For families who are interested in knowing more, there will be a parent webinar this coming Monday at 5 p.m.

You can submit questions for that now by going to the district's website.

Across town, Brett Yancey -- the chief operations officer for the Springfield School District, said they've seen a few positive cases come into the school.

"There are large events outside of school that could be contributing to that -- whether those be family gatherings, concerts, or games -- so we are seeing an increase," Yancy said.

Yancey told KEZI they've seen a lot of kids come back. Right now, they have 10,000 students throughout their district learning in person. Last year, they only had 7,000.

Overall, Yancey said he is encouraged. He went into a kindergarten classroom, and they were all following the guidelines. He believes it's going to be a great year.

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