ENTERPRISE — Enterprise and Wallowa school districts both were closed on Thursday, Feb. 25, after each posted on their Facebook pages late Wednesday night that they had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the district.
The shutdown of the schools was short lived, as schools were allowing students back in the classroom Monday, March 1, following contact tracing and quarantining any students or staff determined to be in direct contact with the individual.
In almost identical posts, both districts said they were working with health authorities at the local and state levels. The districts provided cohort information and contact tracing logs to the health authorities and began deep cleaning the schools.
“I would say the key to stopping the spread and our response has really been Dr. Liz Powers,” Wallowa Superintendent Tammy Jones said. “She is an amazing support for districts, and is there anytime day or night to help us through. We got the word late (on Wednesday night). It was a late night start in our communication. It’s gone really smooth.”
Nineteen individuals from Wallowa junior high and high school will be required to quarantine, and those students will study via comprehensive distance learning until March 11, a follow-up post stated, after they were determined to be in contact with the confirmed case.
“The exposures were short term in nature, but our country does take extra precautions to make sure we don’t create a spread,” Jones told the Chieftain. “Keeping our community healthy and safe is a priority.”
At the elementary school, second and sixth grades were able to return to the classroom Monday. Kindergarten, first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students will be transferred to online learning until between March 9-11. Jones said the staggered return dates were set by Powers based on when the exposures happened in those grades.
“You go from the last potential exposure, you go 14 days from that,” Jones said.
In an update Friday morning, Enterprise Superintendent Erika Pinkerton posted that all students and staff who had direct contact had been contacted by local health authorities.
“This really has affected, primarily, the elementary,” Pinkerton told the Chieftain. “There is only one secluded cohort that was exposed at the middle school/high school.”
Those students who returned to the elementary school in-person Monday were in two groups — a portion who returned to regular study, and a group that will meet in a one-room schoolhouse format.
Seven classes will move to online instruction for at least a week, and are slated to return between March 9-11.
At the middle and high schools, students who were determined to have been a direct contact have been notified and will quarantine until March 10. The rest of the students will be able to resume studying in-person next week.
Both superintendents said the sports schedules should not be impacted by the current situation in each school.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information and to clarify details.