Stella Mayfield Students

Students at Stella Mayfield Elementary School, Elgin, spend time on the playground Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. Elgin School District Superintendent Dianne Greif on Wednesday announced a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

ELGIN — An Elgin School District staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

District Superintendent Dianne Greif announced the finding Wednesday, Oct. 7, on the district’s Facebook page.

“We had a staff member who was notified of exposure while away from school on personal business,” Greif said. “As soon as he was notified, he quarantined at home.”

The district reported the exposure to the school health nurse and the Center for Human Development, in La Grande, which oversees public health for the county.

“The CHD contact asked us to quarantine his family also, which was done,” Greif said, adding that contacts have been identified and notified, quarantined and tested where necessary.

The schools doors will remain open and students will continue with in-person instruction.

“We followed all contact tracing logs, looked at exposure in the district, which was none in most areas because of the quarantine at home,” Greif said. “The process of utilizing the contact tracing logs and making the determination that students and staff were OK to continue in class was coordinated between myself, our school nurse and CHD.”

Carrie Brogoitti, the public health administrator for the Center for Human Development, said they followed the process outlined by the state education and health department.

“When we have cases in schools we look at the situation and coordinate with them individually,” Brogoitti said. “Ultimately, though, it is up to the school and the Oregon Department of Education to close the schools. We have been in regular communication with the schools, like providing them with regular updates on COVID-19 activity as it relates to the school metrics, providing support on implementing the ODE and (Oregon Health Authority) guidance, and answering specific questions about the virus and situations that come up in their schools.”

Before the start of classes in the fall, every district in Oregon had to submit “Ready Schools, Safe Learners” plans to reopen schools and show what actions they would take to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and how they would respond to a positive case.

Elgin’s plans included notifying local health authorities if a student or staff member tested positive, quarantining the person who tested positive and implementing contact tracing of students and staff for any potential close contacts.

“I feel confident that we did follow our blueprint and have, to the best of our ability, assured a safe environment for our students and staff,” Greif said.

Greif and Brogoitti said the investigation into the positive case and contact tracing continues.

“We want to stop the spread to the greatest extent possible so kids can stay in school,” Brogoitti said. “Everything is going the way we expected it to go.”

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