COVID Outbreak Among Students Forces Closure of LA School

Coronavirus test result

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Students at View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School were expected to undergo a new round of COVID-19 testing today, after a sudden spike in cases among students last week prompted the school to return to remote learning -- the first known virus-related campus closure in the county since schools welcomed students back.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the school at 5701 Crenshaw Blvd. switched back to virtual learning this week after results from last Thursday's round of COVID testing showed infections among 15 students, including one football player, along with one staff member. That was more infections among students than the school had detected over the entire school year, The Times reported.

Although the testing was conducted last Thursday, the results of the tests didn't come back until Saturday, and in the interim, the View Park football team played a game Friday night against Crenshaw High School, according to The Times. That forced players on the Crenshaw High team to go into quarantine this week due to possible exposure, and the team's game against Locke High School this week was canceled, the paper reported.

The View Park campus has undergone a deep cleaning, but students have been learning remotely this week.

“In an abundance of caution, we are in virtual learning this week,'' Parker Hudnut, CEO of ICEF Public Schools, which operates View Park and six other charters in South Los Angeles and Inglewood, told The Times in a statement. “We are also using this time to work with the county to understand if there is anything else we should be doing. To me, it is an example of how insidious COVID can be despite masks, screenings, weekly testing and vaccines for staff.''

According to the paper, ICEF has mandated vaccines for staff members, but not for students. Under Los Angeles Unified School District guidelines, all students and staff are subject to weekly COVID testing.

View Park has 408 students, and 345 of them were tested last week, when the 15 student cases were detected, The Times reported.

“Every student currently has a laptop, access to a hotspot, if needed, and uses their computer at home every night,'' Hudnut told the paper. “Teachers use their laptops, and we have our built-in video cameras in every ICEF classroom. Therefore, switching from in-person instruction to online instruction is technically not overly complicated. However, the social-emotional toll of returning to virtual learning and feeling like we are never going to be free from this pandemic is the bigger issue.''

The paper reported that this was supposed to be homecoming week for the school, but this week's football game had to be canceled and other activities delayed. The homecoming dance had already been scrubbed due to safety concerns, The Times reported.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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