Santa Rosa school prepares to reopen following COVID spike-related shutdown

St. Rose Catholic School in Santa Rosa is preparing to reopen following a three-day shutdown from a dramatic spike in COVID cases. Students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors upon reopening. 

The school will reopen Thursday morning following the spike among the school's 3rd through 8th graders. 

"This Sunday, my secretary was constantly emailing and texting me that she was getting a lot of positive results from parents," said the school's principal, Kathleen Aymar. "And the uptick kept growing and growing." 

The Sonoma County health department agreed that the highly transmissible variant demanded action. Dr. Yasuko Fukuda, a pediatrician who is a state health department outreach speaker had this to say:  "The best that you can do is limit how much you are in contact with someone who has the current coronavirus."

The principal, out of abundance of caution, decided to protect students, staff and the community. Aymar said, so far parents have remained positive about the school's decisions. 

Based on health officials' strong recommendation, the school is requiring masks for Thursday and Friday. 

It is troubling that Bay Area counties have the highest infection rates statewide. Per 100,000 residents, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties each had almost double the state rate of COVID infections. All nine Bay Area counties are in the 41 to 44 per 100,000 range. That puts them in the top 14 counties with the highest infection rates in the state.

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Beyond masking, distancing, or not gathering at all, to protect yourself and others; way too many parents continue to show reluctance to the very best option. 

Dr. Fukuda said children 5-11 years of age who received emergency use authorization for the vaccine are not as well vaccinated as other demographics. Across the state, statistics show only about one-third from that age group are vaccinated, she said. 

In the last two weeks, there was some positive news; California's COVID death rate decreased by 18%.