Coronavirus Update: Week of January 18

Story by Kahlen Miao
Staff Writer

Illustration by Alicia Zhang

SPUSD distributed rapid antigen self-testing kits to students following a spike in coronavirus cases throughout the state on Friday, Jan. 14. 60 students at SPHS had tested positive for the virus as of Wednesday, Jan. 19, with 11 new cases this week.

The district requested all students use one of the two tests on Monday, Jan. 17, before returning to school for the week. Symptomatic or exposed students were instructed to take the test immediately after their symptoms began or after their close contact with a positive case. The second test is to be used on Sunday, Jan. 23, prior to returning to school next week. 

Following a new requirement that all SPUSD staff must wear medical-grade masks, the district has provided KN95 masks to all faculty members. Students are also strongly recommended to wear non-cloth, well fitting masks

In an effort to keep families informed, SPHS administration has also begun sending school-wide emails whenever students on campus test positive. In emails sent out on Tuesday, Jan. 18 and Wednesday, Jan. 19, a total of 11 students tested positive for coronavirus. Six of the 11 individuals were on campus while infectious, and the SPHS health team is notifying individuals who were in close contact with them. Emails informing families of close contact with a positive individual are sent only to parents or guardians, not students.

“It feels as though the admin doesn’t care as much as they should,” freshman Elena Torices said. “Students have to ask their parents for information about potential health risks at our school when we ourselves should be informed.”

The district reported a total number of 181 positive cases at all five schools since coming back from winter break on Monday, Jan 10, over double the amount reported in December. SPHS was the only school in the district to see a significant spike in cases beginning in December

SPUSD has set up an online system to report positive coronavirus cases, exposures, and symptoms. Free nationwide at-home coronavirus tests are also available to order for each household.

This is the first article in Tiger’s ongoing weekly series on the latest local coronavirus news and updates.

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