As the push for vaccinations continues throughout the country and state, the Yuba-Sutter area has seen a rise in cases within the local school districts of Yuba City and Marysville.
Yuba City Unified School District has reported 66 overall cases of staff and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of classes on Aug. 8. Among the 66 cases, 53 are students whose parents reported testing positive and 13 are staff members within the school district. Nine staff members hold some sort of credential.
Marysville Joint Unified School District has reported 30 student cases who tested positive since Aug. 17. Among the 30 cases reported, seven students were reported within Marysville High School since Aug. 11.
As of Monday, there are 1,269 active COVID-19 cases in the Yuba-Sutter area and three COVID-related deaths have been reported since Friday.
An unvaccinated individual in their mid 60s died Friday after being hospitalized for several weeks. On Sunday, two individuals died – an unvaccinated person from Yuba County in their early 60s and a vaccinated person with underlying medical conditions in their late 70s from Sutter County.
“All staff are being impacted by the current surge,” said Gary Cena, superintendent of Marysville Joint Unified School District in an email. “Specifically, 10 staff members have tested positive over the past seven days, spanning from August 17th to August 23rd, and there are several more staff members who are currently in quarantine due to exposure. MJUSD cannot disclose how many of the staff are teachers due to privacy concerns.”
There are 10,115 students currently enrolled at MJUSD and 1,245 staff members, meaning that .003% of students have tested positive and 1.3% of staff have tested positive since Aug. 11, said Cena.
With guidance from the California Department of Public Health, a modified quarantine system has allowed students who potentially came in close contact with others who tested positive for COVID-19 to stay in school, said Doreen Osumi, superintendent of Yuba City Unified School District.
“That’s why masks are so important,” said Osumi. “Because it allows us to keep students in school.”
Students possibly exposed are allowed to continue onsite in school only if they are asymptomatic, continue to appropriately wear a mask as required, undergo testing twice a week within a 10-day period and continue to quarantine for any extracurricular activities.
Students under modified quarantine have an option to take a BinaxNOW COVID-19 antigen test with the school district program in conjunction with the California Department of Public Health, test on their own providing the results to the school district or quarantine for a 10-day period. According to the Yuba City Unified School District dashboard, there are 46 classes that contain students following the modified quarantine protocols.
The modified quarantine system does not pertain to school staff, said Osumi. If a staff member came in close contact with a person who tested positive and the individual is vaccinated and asymptomatic, they would be allowed to continue teaching. However, if the person is unvaccinated, the staff member then would have to quarantine for 10 days or more depending on the individual’s circumstances and health, with recommended testing.
Classes that had teachers who tested positive for COVID-19 will not be switched to temporarily modified quarantine, unless students came into close contact with the instructor. In that case, a substitute teacher would be brought in to teach the class in-person while the teacher quarantines, said Cena.
“The foundational principle of the CDPH guidance is that all students must have access to safe and full in-person instruction and to as much instructional time as possible,” said Cena. “There is no set threshold. The MJUSD communicates closely with Yuba County Public Health to ensure each case we are notified about is investigated and the appropriate steps are taken.”