Bothell High closed Thursday due to coronavirus concerns

Bothell High School is closed Thursday after a staff member who returned to work from international travel reported that a family member traveling with them became sick, according to a letter to Northshore School District families.

“I did make the decision to close school today so that we could fully and completely disinfect our campus,” said Superintendent Michelle Reid, Northshore School District.

According to the letter, the staffer’s family member was taken to the hospital and is currently being treated, monitored and quarantined. Meanwhile, the staff member is being quarantined at home for 14 days.

“At this time, there is no confirmation that the family member’s illness is connected to the coronavirus outbreak, but out of an abundance of caution, the family member is being tested,” according to the letter sent to families.

The school district contacted the Washington State Department of Health, which said the test results could take up to 7 days.

“While today, our support services staff have been taking initial steps to disinfect the areas where the staff member traveled on the campus, we need more time to fully and completely disinfect the entire school as a preventive measure,” Reid wrote in the letter.

The district said it is contacting the families of students, and visitors who came in contact with the staff member Monday.

“Given the tragic aspects of it right now, I think it’s probably a good idea,” said Kathy Savory.

The district’s maintenance and facilities crew is deep cleaning the school by using EPA approved disinfectants recommended by the King County Health Department.

“The health department has made it very clear that there is minimal risk, or very low risk, of any transmission at this point,” said Reid.

The decision on whether or not to hold class Friday has yet to be decided.

A statement from Public Health – Seattle & King County posted Wednesday said, in part:

“We understand that the Northshore School District is choosing to close Bothell High School on February 27 to clean the building because they are concerned about novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Closing schools when there has not been a confirmed case in a student or staff member is not currently recommended by Public Health — Seattle & King County or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Though this closure is not necessary from a public health point of view, we know that school districts act out of extra special caution when they are protecting children. And the school knows its community best and is in charge of making decisions about the school.

“Public Health will continue to provide guidance to the Northshore School District and will provide any support that we can.”

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