NSD listed under county’s COVID-19 outbreaks a week after initial report

Photo courtesy of the Newhall School District.

The county updated its COVID-19 outbreaks webpage to include the Newhall School District office one week after officials reported four positive cases linked to the district office Nov. 13.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provides an updated list of COVID-19 outbreaks in educational settings on its website. Although the cases from NSD were reported to the department on Nov. 13, they were not listed on the Public Health website before the office closed Wednesday and staff were required to work from home.

“We require all businesses to report to us once they have three cases over a 14-day period,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Public Health. “Once they report to us, we have a team begin to gather information such as when each person was diagnosed.”

NSD Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said after multiple district staff tested positive for the virus within a week, the district had a consultation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health that took place over the course of multiple days, beginning Nov. 13 and concluding Nov. 17, just one day before the district announced the office would be closed out of “an abundance of caution.”

The county had not added the district’s office to the website, which can be accessed by the community, until two days after the district office closed. Pelzel said it was the district’s decision to close in order to keep staff members from being exposed to the virus.

“Once we verify there’s been an outbreak, we regularly follow up with the work site until there’s 14 days with no new cases,” Ferrer said.

District officials said Thursday they were unable to provide information that could lead to the identification or the classification of employees due to legal concerns. Pelzel said there were no updates to be given Friday afternoon and the district office will remain closed for the time being.

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