The La Cañada Unified School District officially welcomed back students in grades 7-12 on Tuesday but teachers and students were also quickly reminded that COVID-19 has not gone anywhere.
Superintendent told the Outlook Valley Sun Wednesday that three classes at La Cañada High School were shut down due to four positive coronavirus tests — one student, two coaches and one staff member — and the cohorts of students possibly exposed to the virus must quarantine for two weeks.
“We got a taste of what contact tracing will feel like at the high school,” said Sinnette, who added that none of the transmission occurred on campus. “Our COVID compliance team worked really hard, but there are some disappointed kids who have to quarantine for 14 days after tasting only one day of being back. We’re trying to mitigate everything we can.”
Boys’ volleyball team activities have also been temporarily suspended, but tonight’s football game — the final contest of the shortened season — against Monrovia is still a go, according to Sinnette.
The district was aware of the risks of returning to campus after the spring break, a period when families tend to go on vacation and travel.
“It’s a strong reminder. As much as we’re all done with COVID, it’s still out there and we all have to follow the protocols,” Sinnette said.
As if positive cases weren’t enough, a pipe in the main office burst and flooded the mail room, one classroom and a few offices. The power was shut down for safety reasons and students spent the final 20 minutes of the day outside. Maintenance worked throughout the evening to fix the issue.
“It was almost like having a fire drill; we used to have a lot of fire drills,” said LCHS 7/8 Principal Jarrett Gold. “It brought me back to the good old days.”
Despite the setbacks, district staff and site administrators were glad to have their oldest students return to campus, even if it was only about two-thirds of the student body.
“It’s not normal by any means with seven check-in stations,” Gold said. “But having them back makes the campus feel alive again. It no longer feels like we’re in a panic; it feels more like recovery.”
Sinnette echoed Gold in her excitement to now have all grade levels back on campuses for limited in-person instruction.
“It’s just great,” Sinnette said. “I think the students were excited and enthusiastic out there, as well as the site administrators. The teachers did an amazing job with concurrent instruction despite the challenges of having online learners and students in front of you. It really was an exciting atmosphere.”