SUTTER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — East Nicolaus High School in Sutter County has sent all students home and returned to remote teaching because of new COVID-19 cases.
On a typical Thursday afternoon, the outdoor quad at East Nicolaus High School is usually teeming with young students. This Thursday, however, the quad is silent as teachers give lessons from empty classrooms and return to distance learning.
This week, Superintendent Neil Stinson sent a message to parents informing them of a rapidly spreading outbreak of COVID-19 at the school, which will now be closed for the next 10 days.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the language and politics around public health measures to control delta and COVID are not taking account of our youth and our students,” said State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento.
In a virtual conference with student health ambassadors, Dr. Pan said politics are overshadowing the fact that the highly contagious delta variant is becoming more prevalent in schools.
In just the last week, children accounted for 22.4% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
According to the Yuba-Sutter Public Health District, nearly 2,600 children ranging from infant to high school age have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and only 6% of that age group have been vaccinated.
“Let’s be very clear, children can get sick, and children can even die of COVID,” Pan said. “Yes, they’re at less of a risk. Less is not zero.”
President of the San Juan Unified School District Paula Villescaz agreed more measures need to be taken to get the appropriate age groups in local school districts vaccinated.
“This includes vaccine verifications, enforcing mask mandates, providing vaccine clinics and providing regular testing opportunities,” she said.
One student told FOX40 they think students should have easy access to vaccines and that masking must be a top priority.
More than 280 children attend East Nicolaus High School. The superintendent said they are doing rapid testing of students and staff, and anyone interested in a test should call or email ahead of time for an appointment.
In-person classes are expected to resume Sept. 7.