UPDATES: Which Siskiyou schools have been affected by COVID-19?

Bill Choy Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald
This flowchart from the Siskiyou County Public Health Department is what the Siskiyou Union High School District uses to determine who is quarantined.

Yreka High School, Evergreen Elementary School, and Jackson Street School will continue remote learning for at least another week due to increased COVID-19 rates in Siskiyou County. Administrators made the announcement on Thursday, when there were 435 active COVID cases in Siskiyou County, with a 7-day positivity rate of 17.5%. 

Yreka High School to continue independent study through Sept. 20

“The community rate of infection continues to rise at an alarming rate,” Yreka Union High School District Superintendent Mark Greenfield said Thursday. Due to this trend, Greenfield said he felt it was not in the best interest of students and staff to return to full in-person instruction on Monday, as planned.

The school will instead be extending the short term independent study operations for the week of Sept. 13, with the hope to return to in-person classes on Monday, Sept. 20. 

"This is not an easy decision, and no one, especially my administration, are taking it lightly. We must be able to protect all of our students the best we can; at this moment, I do not believe the situation allows us to provide that security," Greenfield said.

At Discovery High School and Yreka Options – both also part of the Yreka Union High School District – programs will be continuing as normal.   

Sports at YHS are continuing this week.

In a statement, the district said athletic teams must operate under their own set of safety practices. They said their ability to ensure safe practices and competitions with sports is separate from the classrooms, and outdoor activities are treated differently and proven to be less risky.

The statment added that indoor sports have greater spacing and separation than they can provide in a classroom.  

Yreka Union Elementary District: 255 students quarantined since Aug. 25

Schools in the Yreka Union Elementary District will also extend independent study operations for another week.

Interim Superintendent James Berry said that from the first day of school on Aug. 25 to Sept. 2 there were 255 students that were either in quarantine for close contact, or positive for COVID.

Berry said that "unfortunately," the number escalated from 255 to 351 week of Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, He said they hope to return to class on Sept. 20.

"We do not take these actions lightly, but do so in order to ensure the health and safety of our students and this community, we believe that this course will lead to less spread of this illness," he said.

Original story

As Siskiyou County continues to deal with a wave of COVID-19 cases, schools are having a difficult time keeping students in class. Several have transitioned their students to independent study.

Siskiyou County had 365 active cases of COVID-19 before the Labor Day weekend on Sept. 3, compared to 271 the week before. Thirteen people were hospitalized as of Friday, and there have been 41 total deaths. Siskiyou County will provide updated information on Tuesday afternoon.

Here's a list of some of the Siskiyou schools who've been affected by COVID and how the school is dealing with positive cases and exposures.

Yreka Union Elementary School District 

This week, both Jackson Street School and Evergreen Elementary School are transitioning to a short term independent study program. 

Interim Superintendent James Berry said this is due to “concerns relative to the level of spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community and county.” He said because of this they are doing the Independent Study Program this week. The school week began Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday Monday and concludes on Friday. 

“We apologize for the inconvenience to you and your families, but we are taking these actions to ensure the health and safety of our students and this community,” wrote Berry. He said the goal is to transition back to normal in-person classes on Monday, Sept. 13, and base the decision on information as it becomes available. 

Siskiyou Union High School District 

Two weeks after school started, nearly half the students enrolled at Weed High School are in quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19. As a result, they will not be attending classes in person, and will be on independent study, said Mike Matheson, superintendent of the Siskiyou Union High School District.

At the same time, about 100 Mount Shasta High School students have been put on quarantine after an exposure, as well as 16 students at Happy Camp High School. 

Montague Elementary School 

Montague Elementary has also closed its campus and is transitioning students to short term independent study. The school hopes to resume in-person classes on Monday, Sept. 13. 

Grenada Elementary

Although the school remains open, Grenada Elementary principal/superintendent Gingerlee Charles is also dealing with issues related to COVID-19.

She said the school was notified over the weekend that a few students and staff members tested positive and others need to be quarantined due to direct exposure.

She said as a result, both of the school's bus drivers are out this week. Evans Transportation is providing bus services for the time being.

“We really appreciate Evans Transportation for going above and beyond to help out our school and families,” Charles said. “Not having bus transportation would really impact our student's ability to make it to school, as most students do not live within walking distance.” 

The school was still open for in-person learning as of Tuesday morning. 

“We are doing what we can to keep our children safe and remain open,” Charles said. “We need everyone’s help.”  

Yreka High School 

Yreka High School has moved into a short-term independent study format as cases continue to be reported in the Yreka area. Yreka Union High School District superintendent Mark Greenfield said the testing and isolation of exposed students have overwhelmed the school's resources. YHS plans to resume on-campus classes Monday, Sept. 13. 

Weed Elementary School

Students at Weed Elementary School are back on campus Tuesday after a 10-day quarantine due to several exposures on Aug. 27. All programs are still being offered but the school is shifting to a more restrictive school day, with smaller class sizes, cohorts of students who stay together for the day to avoid large exposures, regular temperature checks and social distancing.

"We ask for your cooperation during this 'spike' as we will get through this," school administrators said in its weekly bulletin. "It is vital that our families communicate with us and take the appropriate measures to not expose others. We must continue to work together for all of our sake."

Mount Shasta Union School District

One seventh grade class and one third grade class were transitioned to independent study due to COVID-19 exposures on Friday, Sept. 3.

School Nursing Services Coordinator Peggy Gump explained key COVID symptoms in an Aug. 24 presentation to the School Committee.