COVID-19 cases reported as South Bay schools return to in-person learning

Posted at 8:10 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 11:10:27-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- With students in the South Bay returning to in-person learning, there have been some confirmed cases of COVID-19 on different campuses.

Most recently, ABC 10News learned of a positive case reported at Olympian High School in east Chula Vista, sending students home to isolate.

“I feel that the school is taking the proper precautions to have them back in class and that it’s good for the kids to be around their friends,” said Aaron Winters, who has a stepson at Olympian High.

Winters said positive cases are to be expected as more students return to school.

“I think as more schools open up, you’re going to see that across the board,” said Winters. “It wouldn’t be the reality if you expect there would be zero cases whatsoever, so I expect they’ll come up here and there, and I think the school has a good protocol for preparing and taking care of those cases as they come in.”

“We’re definitely hearing from school leaders that they’re seeing cases on campus,” said Bob Mueller with the San Diego County Office of Education. “In the South County, where schools came back for their regular school year, and we have lots of kids on campus, we’re definitely seeing cases there, too.”

When someone tests positive, Mueller said they’re sent home and contact tracing immediately begins, although it can be challenging.

“When you’re contract tracing, you’re going back five days to identify those close contacts,” he explained.

The Sweetwater Union High School District recently updated its COVID-19 protocols, based on new information from the county’s Public Health Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies.

The district said if a student tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, the student needs to isolate at home for 10 days.

For COVID-19 close contacts, if a student is vaccinated and asymptomatic, they don’t need to isolate at home and can remain in school but should be monitored for any symptoms.

If a student is unvaccinated but asymptomatic, they need to follow the “close contact 10-day monitoring protocol,” which includes the following, according to Sweetwater district:

the student can continue with in-person instruction
the student must be tested for COVID-19 up to 4 times in a 10-day interval
the student cannot participate in extracurricular activities

If a student or their family does not agree to those protocols, the district said they need to isolate for 10 days at home and can return on the 11th day if they have no symptoms.

For all symptomatic cases, students should stay home until symptoms are cleared, and it’s recommended that they are tested before returning to campus.