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COVID outbreak in Danville classroom

Bay Area

DANVILLE, Calif. (KRON) – A COVID outbreak at a classroom in Danville.

San Ramon Valley Unified School District confirmed on Wednesday that a total of eight people from one classroom at Del Amigo High School contracted COVID last month.

It happened right as the school was welcoming back students and staff for phase two of its reopening process on November 17.

A total of five staff members and three students here at Del Amigo contracted COVID-19.

This campus offers transitional programs for students who have special educational needs and the virus spread through one of those classrooms.

KRON4 spoke with one of those staff members who contracted the virus, and she says she’s hesitant to go back.

For the last 31-years, Jan Jimenez has worked as an Autism specialist paraprofessional with San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

Back on November 17, the district began phase two of its reopening and she and her fellow paraprofessionals returned to the Del Amigo High School campus.

She says she knew the risks of going back.

“We knew some of the students wouldn’t be masked, they could not tolerate it, we would have to be within 6-feet of students, we were given a plastic gown and rubber gloves and a flimsy face shield and were told we have to do the best we can and that’s it,” Jimenez said. 

She says on that first day back, she recorded fevers on two students and contacted the certificate teacher associated with their class but carried on as normal.

By Saturday, Jimenez started to feel feverish herself, and over the next couple of days, she, along with her fellow staff members in that classroom, and three of the students tested positive for COVID-19.

“I take responsibility for all students and staff being safe. However, our protocols are meant to keep people safe, and the protocols in this situation weren’t followed,” John Malloy said. 

Superintendent John Malloy says the district had instructed staff to escort any student with symptoms to the nurse’s office immediately.

He says the district is now working to create clearer communication with staff about the protocols and will be providing staff with N95 masks on top of the other PPE.

“We can’t control COVID-19 but what we can do is really strengthen safety measures and that’s where our protocols come in. When our families do the screening and keep their kids at home if needed, that’s gonna help us, when our staff works closely together that’s gonna help us, so this is gonna be a community effort,” Malloy said. 

Jimenez says she’s felt a bit like a guinea pig and is concerned the enhanced measures still won’t’ be enough.

“We wouldn’t do this job if we didn’t’ love and deeply care and want to be with these students. The issue is how can we keep our people safe,” Jimenez said. 

San Ramon Valley Unified is planning to move into phase 3 of reopening come January 5 — However, the superintendent says they’re following the guidance of the county health officers and will make that call as the date moves closer.

As for the students and staff affected here, Tuesday was technically their final day of quarantine and they are expected back to campus on Monday.

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