School is back, and so are COVID-19 cases in Eastern Washington and North Idaho

<p><p>The school year has just begun, but COVID-19 is back, especially in Coeur d’Alene and Mead.</p></p><p><p>As of Wednesday – the second day of classes at Coeur d’Alene Schools – the district reported 66 cumulative cases dating back to Aug. 16.</p></p><p><p>Of those, 38 have occurred this week, mostly at the high school level.</p></p><p><p>So far, 71 students and eight staff have self-quarantined because of a positive test or close contact with someone infected.</p></p><p><p>Post Falls and Lakeland, the other two large districts in Kootenai County, have yet to post a COVID-19 dashboard.</p></p><p><p>In the absence of a mask mandate, Idaho school districts have opted to make mask wearing optional.</p></p><p><p>“It’s safe to say most students aren’t wearing masks,” said Scott Maben, director of communications for the district, which welcomed about 10,300 students back to class. Of those, 162 opted for an online option.</p></p><p><p>As of Wednesday, the second day of school, the Mead School District reported 28 confirmed cases.</p></p><p><p>Central Valley, which began the school year on Wednesday, has not posted numbers on its dashboard. Spokane Public Schools plans to do so on Friday, according to communications director Sandra Jarrard.</p></p><p><p>In an email, Jarrard spelled out the district’s quarantining protocols. They are similar to last year’s.</p></p><p><p>The district’s tracing team will quarantine students who have been exposed to a COVID-19 case or have COVID-19. Students who have symptoms should stay home from school for 10 days or they can return to school once they receive a negative test.</p></p><p><p>Test results must be negative and the staff/student must have no fever for 24 hours.</p></p><p><p>“We currently do not have any transmissions that have occurred in SPS buildings,” Jarrard said Wednesday. It’s unclear whether transmissions have occurred outside buildings.</p></p><p><p>Most other districts in Spokane County haven’t posted dashboards.</p></p>