COVID-19 numbers continue to soar in some local schools

<p><p>The COVID-19 surge shows no signs of slowing in local schools.</p></p><p><p>School districts in Spokane and Kootenai counties reported 941 positive coronavirus tests as of Friday afternoon, up from about 800 the week before. True numbers are certainly higher, as many districts have opted not to update information more than weekly.</p></p><p><p>Rural districts got the brunt of the coronavirus, with St. Maries going fully remote after almost one-third of students and one out of five staffers afflicted. High schools in Othello and Garfield also were moved to remote learning, while the Mead School District did the same with several classrooms.</p></p><p><p>Matters haven’t reached the critical stage at Spokane Public Schools, where this week 109 people tested positive for COVID. That’s down from 138 last week; however, 624 students and staff are in quarantine – a sharp jump from last week.</p></p><p><p>The district also saw six transmissions resulting from in-school contact. That comes after nine in-building transmissions last week, which means that in barely three weeks, Spokane has already topped last year’s total of 12.</p></p><p><p>However, no school in the district has been hit hard enough to warrant a shutdown or significant changes. Nine buildings had at least 20 people in quarantine this week.</p></p><p><p>The hardest hit was Stevens Elementary with 54 in quarantine; Lidgerwood, Hutton, Wilson and Madison had at least 30.</p></p><p><p>Shadle Park topped the district charts with 61 in quarantine.</p></p><p><p>Rising rates also continue to afflict Coeur d’Alene Schools, with 227 people currently testing positive and 459 forced out of buildings by positive tests or close contact with infected individuals.</p></p><p><p>In the Mead School District, 110 positive cases have been reported since classes began Sept. 7. Thirty of those cases occurred at Mead High School.</p></p><p><p>Numbers were also higher in the Central Valley School District, with 172 positive cases in the previous 14 days; that’s up from 111 last week.</p></p><p><p>Mead was down slightly to 110 positive cases in the last 14 days, but was dealing with hot spots at Colbert and Meadow Ridge elementary schools and Mead High School.</p></p><p><p>Cheney is enduring its worst outbreak since the pandemic began, with 74 positive cases, while neighboring Medical Lake has 55.</p></p>