School staff in Waldport test positive for COVID

WALDPORT — There were two cases of COVID-19 reported last week in staff at Waldport Middle and High School, where a limited number of students are currently attending class on campus.

The two cases are the first from the Lincoln County School District to be listed in the Oregon Health Authority’s weekly COVID report, which names districts conducting classes in person that have any confirmed cases in students or staff. Hybrid learning has not yet begun for LCSD middle and high school students, but teachers are on-site holding class via video, and some career technical education students are in Waldport school buildings, as are some high school students with no internet connection at home.

For the purposes of its weekly reports, OHA classifies school staff as “any person who works full time or part-time at the school, regardless of their position.” Other staff members have tested positive since the beginning of the school year, but no cases have yet been listed in the weekly report as occurring since the school began in-person instruction.

Superintendent Karen Gray said the district was following all protocols and working closely with Lincoln County Public Health. A health department spokesperson said the district conducted contact tracing, as required by Oregon Occupational Safety and Health guidelines and the district’s blueprint for reopening, and public health duplicated those efforts with its own tracing.

Assistant Superintendent Susan Van Liew, who heads the district’s COVID-19 response, told the News-Times via email, “The relationship LCSD has with Lincoln County Public Health is strong. Our communications with each other are strengthening the school district protocols and reducing the risks associated with COVID-19. We are grateful for the support and partnership with the health department.” 

According to the OHA report, the most recent onset of COVID-19 at Waldport Middle and High School was Nov. 9. The report lists just fewer than 70 schools in the state with a most recent onset within the past 28 days, almost all of which reported two cases or fewer. Only two schools have confirmed enough cases that would qualify as workplace outbreaks by OHA guidelines — Wallowa High School, with eight student cases and one in staff, and Vale Elementary School in Malheur County, with two student and three staff cases. Twenty-seven schools had prior cases now listed as resolved.

Oregon Coast Community College confirmed its first on-campus COVID-19 case on Wednesday, also a staff member. According to a notice posted to the college website, possibly exposed individuals have been contacted, and the health department informed the college that because the person “had limited interaction with staff and students … no further intervention at the college is required.”


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