Marin County Elementary School has reinstated its internal masking law following an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Coleman Elementary School in San Rafael has documented 20 infections since March 22, including 14 students and six employees, the school district reported Thursday.
Director Mike Taylor has announced the temporary return of the Inner Masks mandate until April 15th. He said more masks would be available at the school office.
The school also distributes additional speed tests at home for families to use whenever possible symptoms or exposures occur. Every child who looks positive should stay home and check again before going back to school, Taylor said.
“I want to emphasize that this is not the time for concern, but for us to implement the recommended public health strategies to respond to the increase in cases and reduce the risk of infection,” Taylor said in a letter to parents on Wednesday. “Together, we are all adapting to the evolving COVID-19 epidemic, creating environments in which students thrive.”
A similar increase in corona virus infections was reported at Butch Elementary School in Kentfield. But this happened before the mandate for the internal mask for schools was lifted on 12 March.
Raquel Rose, superintendent of the Kentfield School District, said 13 students and one staff member at Bacic were tested positive between March 6 and 11.
All the people who tested positive followed the isolation and testing guidelines and returned to school after completing the protocol, she said.
Rose said the county recommended site inspections on March 23. She said 125 students and staff were tested, and there were no positive cases.
“We have done a deep cleaning on site and continue to offer masks to students and staff,” she said.
Elsewhere in the province, COVID-19 infections have been minimal since the mandate for internal masks ended, education leaders said this week. Some school districts plan to hand out home test kits that families will have while students are on spring break next week.
“We currently have 14 students across the county who have been tested positive for COVID in the last ten days and two staff members,” said Tara Taufeier, supervisor of the Temples’ High School District. “We currently have 5,039 students and 503 staff in the district.”
Similarly, the Novato Unified School District does not report an increase in positive cases. County spokeswoman Leslie Benjamin said staff and students have continued to wear masks inside the home since the guidelines changed.
“The COVID activity was manageable,” she said.
At Reed Union School District, a handful of students tested positive, said Kimberly McGrath, the superintendent.
“We currently have six active cases in total, which do not involve staff and only six students,” McGrath said. “This is a manageable level of COVID activity.”
In Miller Creek’s school district “there was no immigration,” said Superintendent Becky Rosales. Students and staff are expected to be tested on April 10 before returning to school the next day.
“Since March 6, three teams and one student have tested positive,” she said.
In Ross Valley School district, the situation is “manageable,” said Superintendent Mercy Trahan. She said 11 students and even staff had not tested positive since March 14.
“There really is a mix of students and staff who continue to wear masks inside and out,” she said.
The county will distribute test kits “to all students and staff who can use them if they have exposure, become symptoms, return from out-of-state travel or to check from quarantine after exposure,” Trahan said.
In the Arksper-Kurta School district Madera “there were not many incidents at all” and “there were no significant increases,” said Brett Geithman, supervisor.
Students and staff will take home another batch of home test kits during the break, but will tell them to use only if they have symptoms, Geithman said.
At Branson Bruce School, “the distribution of optional masks has gone extraordinary and about 20% of our community still hides inside,” said Chris Mazola, the school’s principal.
“We’ve had one or two COVID cases, but this is it,” Metzula said.
At Marin Catholic High School in Kentfield there were “zero cases of students or faculty with COVID,” said Tim Navona, the school’s president.
“A very low percentage of students and faculty wear masks on campus,” Navona said. “We have no current plans for any inspections after the Easter break.”
John Carroll, who oversees the districts of Gonitas and Bolinas-Stinson schools, said “we have not really had any cases at the school.” He said there were “some people with positive cases off-campus, but nothing to worry about.”
“Things were actually calmer than usual,” he said.
Infections in the Shoreline Unified School District in West Marin “have remained at an manageable level since our change in our policy, with only two cases of pupils over the past few weeks,” said Adam Jennings, the county superintendent.
“We also have a combination of students and staff who wear face cover, and put test kits available to all of our students and staff,” he said.
Mary Jane Burke, the county superintendent of schools, said that “the removal of the state’s mask mandate and its implementation at the local level have so far proved to be good workers.”
Burke said the Marin County Department of Education has received a new supply of COVID-19 rapid antigen tests at home for distribution to schools before next spring break. Families can use the tests before returning the children to school on April 11, or whenever symptoms appear.
Burke said public health officials “advise anyone traveling or engaging in any other activity that may be dangerous to consider testing before returning from spring break.”
“Otherwise, students and staff may hold the test and use it if they experience symptoms,” she said.