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COVID-19 spread closes Eagle Point High School

Eagle Point High School
Four students test positive; contact tracing completed

The Eagle Point School District gave high school students the day off Wednesday after four students were recently diagnosed with COVID-19.

The announcement was made by the district through its website and Facebook account Tuesday, explaining that staff would report to work but “students should not come to school.”

After teaming up with Jackson County Public Health to investigate the outbreak and contact trace, the district decided to reopen the school to in-person instruction Thursday. Superintendent Andy Kovach said 77 students will be required to quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with a positive case.

Kovach added that the decision to reopen the school was made alongside Jackson County Public Health.

“We talked them through our entire investigation,” he said. “We gave them all our information. We were as transparent as we could be and discussed all the options, and we realized that we were in the position to bring kids back (Thursday).”

According to Kovach, contact tracers believe the outbreak occurred via community spread.

The contact tracing for three of the students was done by Tuesday afternoon, but the district was notified of a fourth case at about 5 p.m. that night. After that, Kovach said, the district had to take action.

“So we’re taking a step back,” Kovach said Wednesday. “First of all, just trying to track those students and get ahold of them and get ahold of their families is a big process. We have tracking sheets, and all of our attendance records and mapping for where kids were sitting in schools, and trying to sort out who was affected was quickly becoming impossible before the start of school today.”

According to Eagle Point High Assistant Principal Aaron Luksich, about 20 district staffers helped track down students who came in contact with those who were infected.

Kovach said his staff went the extra mile to help get students back in the building as soon as possible.

“I’m really so appreciative of our team,” he said. “If you saw the professionalism and the work that our staff was putting into making sure we had every single thing right, I’m just so proud of them. We were working until 10, 11 o’clock (Tuesday) night, we were in early (Wednesday) morning, following up on every little thing. We did the best we could.”

Eagle Point High has been open to in-person instruction four days a week since April 12. Wednesday’s school closure is its first related to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Joe Zavala can be reached at 541-821-0829 or jzavala@rosebudmedia.com.