Jefferson County school districts share details of staff, student COVID infections

Brian Kelly, James Sloan and Laura Jean Schneider news@ptleader.com
Posted 9/15/21

With the start of the new school year, two school districts in Jefferson County have created data dashboards on their websites to give parents and others regular updates of COVID-19 cases in local …

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Jefferson County school districts share details of staff, student COVID infections

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With the start of the new school year, two school districts in Jefferson County have created data dashboards on their websites to give parents and others regular updates of COVID-19 cases in local schools.

The Quilcene School District is reporting the number of positive COVID cases for both staff and students.

“We launched the tracker this week, so it is new to us, although the idea was not ours,” Quilcene School District Superintendent Frank Redmon said in an email Thursday.

The launch of the data dashboard is an effort by the district to keep the community fully informed, officials said.

“Districts in our region, such as Port Angeles and Central Kitsap have tracking/information systems as well,” Redmon added. “We will update this information weekly, which corresponds to our weekly update that [Principal Sean] Moss hosts via Zoom for our parents.”

Last week, the Quilcene district reported that three students had tested positive for COVID-19, and 20 more were in isolation.

One staff member had also tested positive and was in quarantine.

On Monday, the number of students who had tested positive had climbed to six, and 32 students were in quarantine. 

No additional infections of staff members were found.

The Quilcene School District has 216 students on campus and an on-site staff of 64.

The Port Townsend School District has also launched a COVID-19 data dashboard.

Port Townsend School District Superintendent Linda Rosenbury said the dashboard will be updated whenever there is a new case.

“We update the dashboard to be transparent with our community about COVID cases in our building and the number of close contacts identified,” Rosenbury explained. 

“We also send out a district-wide email to staff and families whenever there is a positive case in one of our buildings. We find that this proactive communication mitigates misinformation and builds confidence in our protocols,” she added. 

The new dashboard is just one step the district has taken to keep the community informed.

The Port Townsend district also recently hosted a webinar about its health and safety protocols.

Rosenbury said more than 70 families attended the webinar.

The district’s COVID dashboard is based on information provided by the Jefferson County Health Department.

On Monday, the Port Townsend district reported one COVID case at Salish Coast Elementary School, and one case at Port Townsend High School/district office.

Four students and staff from Port Townsend High School/district office were in quarantine.

Salish Coast Elementary has 405 students and 62 staff on site.

Port Townsend High School/district office has 360 students and 63 staff members on site.

The Chimacum School District has not put COVID case information on the district’s website.

“We don’t have a tracker,” Chimacum Superintendent Scott Mauk said in an email.

“It is not something that we see is helpful outside of normal communications we would send in the case of an outbreak or cases/updates we would want families to know about,” he added. “If it appears that it would be helpful and worth the staff time to keep updated we would do it.”

Mauk noted that the school district was following guidance from Jefferson County Public Health and the state Department of Health for testing, tracing and quarantines.

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