EUREKA — A COVID-19 outbreak at Eureka Public Schools is causing a major disruption in the classroom as more than a dozen staff members have tested positive for the virus after school began last week.
“Thirteen staff members out right now and so the staff members that are at work I mean they’re being overworked, and I worry about that part of it to you know, the people that are going to work right now and working are probably doing two people’s jobs. - Eureka Public Schools Superintendent Jim Mephan
Mephan said as of Wednesday afternoon 13 staff members at Eureka Schools have tested positive for COVID-19 with three classrooms currently quarantined. He explained staff members started showcasing symptoms late last week, with positive cases being confirmed over the weekend.
“School started last week, we had a huge influx in the county the week before that, so I think several people probably came in exposed that were not symptomatic yet and they got started in multiple different locations,” said Mephan.
Mephan said the 13 COVID-19 positive staff members are showcasing a variety of different symptoms from mild to severe as some were vaccinated and others were not.
He said he’s one of the 13 staff members who tested positive for the virus and is thankful he was vaccinated.
“I can tell you just from personal experience, I’m not a spokesperson for vaccines or not-vaccines -- but from my own personal standpoint, I’m thankful that I had the vaccine, my symptoms got really bad, they lasted for three days and like I said I’m on the mend already from Friday was my first symptoms to Monday night I actually kind of felt human again,” said Mephan.
With no remote learning place, Mephan said the district is giving parents the option of keeping their kids out of school for the time being emailing teachers directly to keep up with classwork. He said the school district is down 30% of in-person students this week.
“A lot of the sick staff members that are home are sending lesson plans in and working from home even though they’re sick and I’ll be honest if they’re anywhere near as sick as I am I can’t even hold my head up I don’t know how they’re doing much class, but our teachers definitely deserve hero status for this,” added Mephan.
Mephan said the district may have to shut down schools if COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
“Every day that question gets posed to the building principals. And it’s really a yes or no and stuff. And so for tomorrow, we believe we can effectively run school and I’m not even going to make a statement for the day after that yet because we decide that one tomorrow,” said Mephan.