K-12 coronavirus case numbers dip after Thanksgiving surge

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reported 315 cases of COVID-19 in the K-12 system last week, a dip from high weekly caseloads reported after Thanksgiving.

With the exception of cases reported during Thanksgiving week (which was shorter than usual because of the holiday short holiday week) the count is at its lowest point since the start of November. The weekly report runs through Sunday.

The weekly K-12 case counts are preliminary and incomplete. The state does not release student and staff case numbers for schools with fewer than 50 students, citing privacy concerns. The state also releases only minimum case numbers for some schools.

This week’s hotspots:

  • Kellogg School District: Health and Welfare reports seven cases at Kellogg High school last week and nine at Kellogg Middle School. This appears to be the bulk of cases in that district since the state started compiling school data. The middle and high school both report a cumulative of 10 cases over time.
  • Post Falls School District: Post Falls has 10 new cases between its middle and high school, compared to zero new cases in the past two weeks. This is only a fraction of overall cases in the district. In all, Post Falls High School has seen 40 student cases and Post Falls Middle school has recorded eight.
  • Sandpoint High School: The bulk of this school’s COVID-19 cases were reported last week, when nine students or staff came down with the virus. Sandpoint High has 13 cumulative cases, according to the department of health and welfare.
  • The highest case count was reported at Rocky Mountain High, where last week saw 17 cases among students and staff. Still, this was a slight decrease from the week before when the school had 22 cases. Rocky Mountain has reported a cumulative total of 71 cases over time.

Some of the state’s largest districts including Boise, Caldwell and Nampa moved to online learning around the Thanksgiving holiday, either because of high caseloads in the community or staff shortages due to COVID-19 quarantines.

In the two weeks before the Boise School District moved online on Nov 30, it reported 13 probable cases. From Dec 1. through today the district has reported only 5. Boise spokesman Dan Hollar said the district wouldn’t necessarily report a positive case for a student learning at home, since the virus wouldn’t have the opportunity to spread in a school environment.

Idaho’s largest district is also reporting a decline in cases after a post-Thanksgiving surge. For the week of Dec. 6-12 the West Ada school district had 106 students and staff with positive COVID-19 tests, compared to 213 the week prior.

Sami Edge

About Sami Edge

Reporter Sami Edge, a University of Oregon graduate, joined Idaho Education News in 2019. She is a 2019 Education Writers Association fellow reporting on Latino student outcomes in Idaho. She also is a 2019 American Press Institute fellow. She can be reached at [email protected].

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