More than 30 in quarantine after positive virus tests at North County middle school

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. – More than 30 students and staff members at a North County middle school are quarantining after two individuals recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

More than 30 students and staff members at a Mission Middle School in the Escondido Union School District are quarantining after two individuals recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

Mission Middle School officials were notified Tuesday of the positive tests, Escondido Union School District spokeswoman Michelle Breier said, noting the cases were “separate and not related.” Individuals who were in contact with either person are being advised by the district to begin a 14-day quarantine.

According to the district, that includes 25 students, five teachers and three classroom aides.

“Scary ‘cause I mean kids,” neighbor Anabelem Aguas said. “Kids are everywhere affect more adults. Adults affect many more people. So, it’s scary.”

The district began its fall semester Aug. 25. It resumed some in-person instruction in a hybrid model in late September. Students in transitional kindergarten through second grade were allowed to return the week of Oct. 12 while third through eighth graders were allowed back last week.

In a statement, Superintendent Luis Rankins-Ibarra said the district’s top priority in reopening campuses “has always been ensuring the health and safety of our students and employees.”

“Months of thoughtful planning resulted in our comprehensive Safe School Reopening Plan, which is our blueprint for providing the safest environment for learning,” Rankins-Ibarra said. “Every day, we take every step possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Under Escondido Union’s hybrid model, transitional kindergartners through fifth graders are attending four half-days of classes on campus with one day of distance learning per week. Sixth through eighth graders are in classrooms two days a week and distance learning for the rest.

The district has implemented health and safety measures for students and staff including encouraging social distancing, requiring face masks, conducting health screenings and “swift contact tracing” following notification of a positive test, Breier said.

“Don’t send your kids to school,” neighbor James Mazon said. “Keep them home. Keep them safe.”

“They should take the responsibility,” Aguas said. “Parents and not send their kids back to school. I know it’s hard but health comes first.”

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