Another outbreak hits Oak Harbor schools

Interim Superintendent Karst Brandsma said 30 students and six staff members had COVID-19.

Oak Harbor Interim Superintendent Karst Brandsma told school board members Monday night that 30 students and six staff members were sick with COVID-19.

Brandsma announced two weeks ago that Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center, which supports students ages 3-5 who have special needs, would close for two weeks following an outbreak. Students in HomeConnection, which is a home school resource group housed on the same campus, were not told to quarantine at the time. Now HomeConnection has two infected students, according to the school district’s COVID dashboard as of Monday night.

It showed two outbreaks in the district — Hand-in-Hand and Oak Harbor Intermediate. Oak Harbor Intermediate had five students with the virus, North Whidbey Middle School had one and Oak Harbor High School had a handful of cases. The dashboard showed infected students at every elementary school in the district except for Crescent Harbor Elementary. Five staff at Hand-in-Hand were listed as current cases along with one district staff member.

The School Age Care at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island was closed down on Sept. 29, according to the base. About 115 students in kindergarten through sixth grade at School Age Care were part of a quarantine that ended Oct. 9. The facility was expected to reopen on Oct. 12.

There have been 52 cumulative cases among students and 10 among staff since the school year began.

There were 143 more cases in Island County last week than the previous week but no additional deaths according to an update from COVID Response Manager Don Mason on Oct. 8. The two-week case rate among children ages 17 years and younger is 380.75 per 100,000 while the adult two-week case rate was 301.38 per 100,000. Oak Harbor accounted for the majority of the county’s COVID cases last week with 93 cases.