First published in the Sept. 3 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
A handful of coronavirus cases have been identified at local public school campuses since the start of the academic year, the South Pasadena Unified School District said earlier this week.
Two cases were identified at both Marengo Elementary School and South Pasadena High in August, and a case at Arroyo Vista Elementary School was reported on Wednesday. All five people were quarantined.
The district is logging and publishing data on positive coronavirus cases among students and staff that have been detected since the start of the school year on Aug. 12, though it does not disclose whether a case involves a student or staff member. This year, 4,660 students are enrolled at SPUSD schools and there are 425 employees.
As with most districts in California, the SPUSD is requiring that face masks be worn indoors and continues to carry out extra cleaning procedures and use strong air filtration devices to mitigate the potential spread of the virus. Weekly testing remains voluntary for students, although athletes are required to take tests each week of their respective seasons.
Those who check the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard may note that SPHS is listed under its “active outbreak” section, with 14 students and one teacher listed in the outbreak. A district official said that information on the SPUSD’s dashboard dates back only to Aug. 12 and that the Public Health listing likely stems from a camp held outside L.A. County that was attended by the school’s pep squad and resulted in a number of COVID-19 infections in July.
None of those infections resulted in serious complications or hospitalizations, the official said, and the county determined at the time that none of the infections originated on campus or contributed to other cases.
It was unclear this week how many SPUSD employees are partially or fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Additionally, the county has not published data on the vaccination rate among the estimated 1,875 children ages 12-17 in South Pasadena.
Vaccines remain free and available for all individuals 12 and older, and appointments can be made at publichealth.lacounty.gov. For more information on the SPUSD’s coronavirus protocols or to view its COVID-19 dashboard, visit spusd.net.