View Park Preparatory High closed its campus to students this week due to a coronavirus outbreak, and is believed to be the first school in Los Angeles County to reclose because of the pandemic since the 2021-22 school year began.
School leaders at the charter school in South L.A. first realized they had an outbreak over the weekend after COVID-19 test results for students and staff, taken last Thursday revealed that 15 students and one teacher had tested positive, Principal Charles Lemle said in an interview on Thursday, Oct. 21.
Lemle said the school, which tests students and staff weekly, would typically see one or two positive cases a week and would have 50-75 people identified as having had close contact with the infected individuals out on quarantine.
However, with 16 people testing positive last week, school officials estimated that about 300 students or staff members — about two-thirds of the entire campus — would have to quarantine anyway, and made the decision to close the school entirely. The county Department of Public Health, which had been informed of the outbreak, had not ordered the school to shut down, Lemle said.
“Because it affected multiple cohorts, we decided to err on the side of caution and self-quarantine everybody,” he said.
Students have been logging online to attend classes remotely from home this week.
He believes the 15 students who tested positive were, at least for the most part, in one of two classrooms.
The teacher who tested positive and at least one of the infected students were vaccinated, he said. The school does not require all students to report whether they’ve been vaccinated.
The school has since undergone deep cleaning and sanitization and plans to reopen the campus to students on Monday, Lemle said. Students were also allowed on campus Thursday for their weekly COVID-19 tests.
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