Santa Maria high school district employee tests positive for COVID-19

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Just weeks after the first day of school on Aug. 17, an employee of the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District tested positive for COVID-19.

In an Aug. 27 announcement, Public Information Officer Kenny Klein said the school district was notified earlier that day that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. The district couldn’t release much more about the case in question, he said.

POSITIVE The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced on Aug. 27 that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19. - FILE PHOTO BY SPENCER COLE
  • FILE PHOTO BY SPENCER COLE
  • POSITIVE The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced on Aug. 27 that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Due to employee confidentiality,” Klein wrote in an updated announcement on Aug. 28, “we cannot release or confirm employee names, positions, or work locations.”



Klein said the district is working closely with the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to ensure safety at its school sites. Those who have had close contact—defined as being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes—with the employee who tested positive will be informed, contact tracing will be conducted, and in some cases, quarantines of about 14 days will be mandated. The district is also disinfecting all necessary facilities.

It’s unclear how many additional employees will be impacted. Although students enrolled in the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District are learning at home, its teachers are required to report to their school sites in person a few times each week.

That decision was approved as part of the district’s larger reopening plan at a board of education meeting on July 23, where several teachers shared their safety and logistical concerns with the requirement. ∆

—Kasey Bubnash

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