More than 40 school principals in northern California have quarantined after they were exposed to the coronavirus during an in-person meeting held by a local school district.
The quarantine follows news that a pre-symptomatic individual tested positive for COVID-19 within days of a June 19 meeting held by the Santa Clara County Unified School District to to discuss school reopening plans for the fall, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.
Superintendent Stella Kemp cited the “complexity” of developing a reopening plan as the reason for some meetings to take place in person.
“Of course those meetings are being conducted under the strict guidelines provided to us by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department,” Kemp said, according to the Chronicle.
Her remarks come even as some members of the school board questioned her decision to convene meetings face-to-face due to concerns about spreading the virus.
Santa Clara County is one of the 19 counties that California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) placed under new restrictions earlier this week as the state struggles to contain the virus.
State health officials reported 210 new cases of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County on Wednesday, bringing the county’s case total to roughly 4,500 cases. At least 158 people have died from the virus in Santa Clara.
While the Santa Clara County public health order does not make a recommendation about the number of people who can attend a meeting, it does advise that “only those employees performing job duties that they cannot feasibly perform from home may come to a business’s facility to work.”
The superintendent insisted the meeting was necessary, adding that everyone who attended was administered a test, and that to her knowledge, no one else tested positive.
Health officials in Santa Clara County gave schools a guide on Tuesday for restarting in-person instruction in the fall but said they should be ready to resume instruction remotely if coronavirus conditions do not improve.