WALLOWA — The Wallowa School District is temporarily closed after a "person in our school community" was diagnosed with COVID-19, Superintendent Tammy Jones posted to the district's Facebook page late Wednesday, Oct. 28.
"As members of the school community, we understand that this might raise concerns alongside a caring response," Jones wrote in the post. "We are working closely with our local and state health authority to respond to this news and protect the health of our community."
The school district was closed Thursday to online and in-person classes, and the Thursday junior high home volleyball match against Elgin was canceled. Jones said Wallowa's participation in a cross-country meet this weekend was also canceled.
"As soon as we learned we started gathering the contact logs, putting that together, getting that over to Dr. (Liz) Powers," Jones told the Chieftain Thursday. "I gave her a starting list of names. We've been in contact today.
"Any one they determine is a close contact they have to quarantine for 14 days, they also are encouraged to get tested."
Jones in the post said the district will be working with health authorities, and would know what the process moving forward is in the days ahead, including if one or both schools will need to be closed for an extended length of time, and if students will need to be taught through the comprehensive distance learning model.
"We'll know in the next couple days of anybody else, given that, we'll communicate the next step to families," she said.
Jones could not disclose if it was a student or staff member who contracted the virus.
"We're not allowed to do that because of privacy," she said.
Jones did, though, confirm she knew of individuals who had gotten tested Thursday.
"We might know stuff later today," she said.
In another Facebook update Thursday, Jones said the district is in the first round of deep cleaning, and that there are plans for more deep cleaning sessions in the days ahead.
She also spelled out in the post what possible scenarios would look like once more test results are known, including potentially:
• quarantining those identified as close contacts or cohorts to the initial person who contracted the virus, and moving them to distance learning;
• a move to distance learning for multiple cohorts;
• moving an entire building to distance learning;
• moving the entire school district to distance learning.
Wallowa County has reported 49 cases of COVID-19, including three new cases on Thursday, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority, and has tested 1,262 individuals — roughly 17.5% of the county's population.
In Oregon, there have been 43,793 reported cases of COVID-19 — including a record one-day high of 575 Thursday, and 673 deaths attributed to the virus. Just over 1% of the state has contracted the virus, and nearly 20% has been tested, according to OHA data.
This story has been updated.