A Coupeville Elementary School student has tested positive for COVID-19.
The kindergarten student who has the virus, and the student’s class and teacher, have ceased in-person learning and were directed to self-quarantine for a two-week period, according to Coupeville Schools Superintendent Steve King.
On Saturday, Oct. 10, school officials contacted the families of classmates of the infected student to let them know that someone in their class had been exposed to the virus, according to Keith Higman, Island County’s director of Public Health.
A parent of the student tested positive for the virus Oct. 10 and the student started to show symptoms later that day, King said. The child had gone to school the previous week without symptoms and last attended school on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Higman said that probable cases are treated the same way as confirmed cases of COVID-19, and immediate action was taken to notify all close contacts of the child, which includes the other students in the class and teacher.
The child tested positive for the virus during the past week. No other cases within the kindergarten class have been reported as of press time.
It is a “very short list” of people who came into contact with the child, Higman said.
Kindergarten students at Coupeville Elementary are within “very small cohorts that don’t mingle with each other,” meaning other classes remain unaffected by the student’s positive case, according to Higman. Besides the teacher of the class, other staff members are also unaffected.
The Island County Health Department has the obligation to track the virus, as it does for all communicable diseases, Higman explained. Members of a case investigation team have been routinely contacting the other children in the class and their families, checking on their health and providing guidance about seeking testing.
Higman praised Coupeville School District officials for their management of the situation. Higman added he believes that the weekly phone calls that the health department has with the island’s school districts are paying off.
“I feel really comfortable with the relationship we have with all our schools, both public and private,” he said.
The appearance of the virus in schools is something that will take some getting used to, Higman said, and it would be inappropriate if the public health department didn’t prepare for more cases.
“We fully anticipate we are going to have future cases of COVID in schools,” he said.
An earlier version of this story said a parent tested positive for the virus and then the parent’s child displayed symptoms while at school. It has been updated with the correct information.