Camas High School COVID-19 outbreak grows to 13 students

There is no evidence at this point of transmission inside of schools or classrooms, said the district

CAMAS — Hybrid in-person learning will remain on pause, at least for the remainder of this week, following an outbreak of COVID-19 among students at Camas High School.

The district had just started bringing high school students back this week, but learned on Wednesday that at least three students who had attended an off-campus gathering last Friday had tested positive for the virus.

Camas High School paused in-person learning this week due to a COVID-19 outbreak among students. File photo
Camas High School paused in-person learning this week due to a COVID-19 outbreak among students. File photo

As of Thursday afternoon, the district said 13 students had tested positive, and 33 others were considered close contacts. Efforts were ongoing to determine any other potential exposures, but district Superintendent Jeff Snell said there has been no evidence of transmission inside of the school or any classrooms to date.

“A-Cohort students attended school in-person Monday and Tuesday this week. We are relieved to report we have not had any confirmed spread of the virus at school,” Snell said in a news release on Thursday. “Following the mitigation strategies is so important and likely the reason we are not seeing spread in our school or classrooms.”

In a letter to parents on March 10, Camas High School Principal Tom Morris said the school and the district have taken every possible precaution to protect students and teachers in their buildings, but there is one element they can’t control:

“Individuals’ behaviors to protect themselves and those around them.”

“Please talk to your children about the critical role they play in keeping their family, friends, school, and community safe and healthy,” Morris wrote. “Their actions can save lives.”

According to information obtained by Clark County Today, the gathering on Friday included members of both the varsity and freshman football teams, cheerleaders, other student-athletes, as well as other students from the school. Sources estimated there were 35-40 students in attendance.

“We have done so much work to get us back to in-person school and I’m disappointed that some of our students blatantly ignored COVID protocols outside of school,” Morris wrote in his letter, obtained by Clark County Today. “We all need to make good decisions in order to keep ourselves moving in a positive direction. You want to be in school, we want you to be in school. Whether you are in school or out, please wear your mask and follow safety protocols.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the district would take any further disciplinary measures against students who attended the party. The Camas Papermakers’ game against Battle Ground, scheduled for Friday, was postponed, and may not be able to be rescheduled. Other sporting events, including volleyball and boys tennis were also postponed.

“We will continue to follow up as we receive test results and work through the contact tracing process,” said Snell. “We want our students back in school and ask for our community’s help in following public health guidance outside of school.”

Snell said further information about plans for next week would be announced on Friday.