Hart district reports 18 positive cases of COVID-19 among students

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office
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William S. Hart Union High School District officials, during the regular board meeting Wednesday, said 18 students have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days. 

During a back-to-school update for the district board, district officials reported 18 students within the athletics and performing arts programs tested positive for COVID-19 within the past two weeks and have been under quarantine. 

“These cases are all students who are participating within our athletics or performing arts programs,” Collyn Nielsen, chief administration officer at the district, said during the board meeting. “The district is following all (Los Angeles) Department of Public Health guidelines, including the asymptomatic testing of our athletes participating in indoor competitions.” 

Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), information regarding the severity of students’ illness was not disclosed to the district, but Nielsen said the positive cases were reported to Public Health and proper contact tracing and quarantining measures are being taken within the district. 

Nielsen said there are currently 19 sports underway within the district’s seven high school campuses. Dave Caldwell, public relations officer for the district, said there are approximately 8,000 high school students in athletic and performing arts programs in the district. 

“Out of those 18, I think the breakdown is 10 and eight, with eight being in performing arts. That’s a rough guess,” Nielsen said. 

She added during the meeting there have been no cases reported among staff or junior high school students within the past 14 days. 

“These outbreaks have involved the quarantining of groups of students, including an entire team that will have to forgo several games as a result,” Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said during the meeting. “At this moment, we continue to watch the case rates and wait for additional input from the county.” 

Castaic, Newhall, Saugus and Sulphur Springs school district officials said they have not had any outbreaks among students or staff, but Castaic district Superintendent Steve Doyle said in an email the district saw “a few cases when we returned in late February — early March. None of those cases contracted COVID-19 from school or spread the virus.” 

Newhall Superintendent Jeff Pelzel said similarly that the Newhall district had four positive cases since the beginning of March, one being a staff member and three being students. 

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