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COVID-19 cases spike at three local school districts

Surges at Sequoia Union High, Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas school districts coincide with countywide increase in

Eighth grader Casey, left, works on an assignment in a digital photography class at La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park on March 24, 2022. Her school district has seen a recent uptick in cases. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

With the end of the school year nearing, COVID-19 case counts are up in the Sequoia Union High, Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas school districts, with more cases than have been seen since the winter surge struck local schools. The spike at local schools coincides with an increase in cases countywide.

Cases San Mateo County have risen 58% over the last two weeks, with an average of 497 cases per day, as of Wednesday, May 25, according data from The New York Times.

The Sequoia district, which has roughly 11,000 students and staff members, saw 123 cases last week, 114 the week prior and 102 cases the week of May 2. The final day of school is June 2. Cases have been elevated in the district since students returned from spring break. Although this is a higher number than preceding weeks, it is still far from the surge of cases — 710 in one week — that followed winter break in January.

The Menlo Park district hit 55 cases last week. At the height of the winter surge, the 2,716-student Menlo Park district saw 88 cases per week, but in recent weeks it has seen an average of 19 cases a week. There were 22 cases the first three days of this week.

"We are experiencing a surge in cases, as the county as a whole is in a spike and our experience is following that trend," said Parke Treadway, the district's public information officer, in an email, who noted that the district has recommended students and staff wear masks indoors, not just on campus but anytime they're outside of their homes. "Given the increased community spread throughout the area right now, it's hard to tell exactly where transmission is coming from and our spike is over the district as a whole."

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There were 25 cases in just the first two days of this week in the about 1,100-student Las Lomitas district, according to Superintendent Beth Polito. There were 21 cases last week and just 11 the week prior.

Photography teacher Janet Gregori speaks with seventh grader Isabelle at La Entrada Middle School in Menlo Park on March 24, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

"The last few weeks have been tough," she said in an email. "We (district administrators) are all subbing in classes and working with families and staff to maintain best practice in safety measures."

Other nearby districts are not seeing a surge in cases.

The 1,501-student Ravenswood City School District, the only local district that still requires students and staff to wear masks indoors, reported 13 cases last week. Cases were in the single digits in weeks prior. The district peaked in cases in January when it hit 120 in one week.

The 365-student Woodside Elementary School District only saw five cases last week. The district sent each student home with a COVID-19 test before heading off to spring break to test before returning to school on April 18.

The Portola Valley School District, which has about 477 students, reported four cases last week.

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Angela Swartz joined The Almanac in 2018 and covers education and small towns. She has a background covering education, city politics and business. Read more >>

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COVID-19 cases spike at three local school districts

Surges at Sequoia Union High, Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas school districts coincide with countywide increase in

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, May 26, 2022, 9:50 am

With the end of the school year nearing, COVID-19 case counts are up in the Sequoia Union High, Menlo Park City and Las Lomitas school districts, with more cases than have been seen since the winter surge struck local schools. The spike at local schools coincides with an increase in cases countywide.

Cases San Mateo County have risen 58% over the last two weeks, with an average of 497 cases per day, as of Wednesday, May 25, according data from The New York Times.

The Sequoia district, which has roughly 11,000 students and staff members, saw 123 cases last week, 114 the week prior and 102 cases the week of May 2. The final day of school is June 2. Cases have been elevated in the district since students returned from spring break. Although this is a higher number than preceding weeks, it is still far from the surge of cases — 710 in one week — that followed winter break in January.

The Menlo Park district hit 55 cases last week. At the height of the winter surge, the 2,716-student Menlo Park district saw 88 cases per week, but in recent weeks it has seen an average of 19 cases a week. There were 22 cases the first three days of this week.

"We are experiencing a surge in cases, as the county as a whole is in a spike and our experience is following that trend," said Parke Treadway, the district's public information officer, in an email, who noted that the district has recommended students and staff wear masks indoors, not just on campus but anytime they're outside of their homes. "Given the increased community spread throughout the area right now, it's hard to tell exactly where transmission is coming from and our spike is over the district as a whole."

There were 25 cases in just the first two days of this week in the about 1,100-student Las Lomitas district, according to Superintendent Beth Polito. There were 21 cases last week and just 11 the week prior.

"The last few weeks have been tough," she said in an email. "We (district administrators) are all subbing in classes and working with families and staff to maintain best practice in safety measures."

Other nearby districts are not seeing a surge in cases.

The 1,501-student Ravenswood City School District, the only local district that still requires students and staff to wear masks indoors, reported 13 cases last week. Cases were in the single digits in weeks prior. The district peaked in cases in January when it hit 120 in one week.

The 365-student Woodside Elementary School District only saw five cases last week. The district sent each student home with a COVID-19 test before heading off to spring break to test before returning to school on April 18.

The Portola Valley School District, which has about 477 students, reported four cases last week.

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