UPDATE: COVID outbreak forces 14-day shutdowns at Christian schools in Lynden | New
Schools are returning to distance learning; Ministry of Health considers recent cases of COVID LC to be epidemic
LYNDEN – Christian schools in Lynden closed their doors again on Wednesday due to COVID-19. Thursday, the district reopened its virtual doors.
“Due to concerns about an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19, the Whatcom County Health Department has reached a deal with Lynden Christian Schools to shut down in-person education for 14 days,” wrote Melissa Morin, manager information for the Whatcom County Health Department in a September 29 statement.
On Tuesday, Lynden Christian Schools informed parents in an email that classes would be canceled on Wednesday and resume remotely on Thursday, September 30. The school’s board of directors voted on Tuesday to approve the closure.
Lynden High School principal Craig Johnson said on Wednesday that the shutdown was in fact district-wide.
“I suggest you contact (Lynden Christian Superintendent) Paul Bootsma for the background,” Johnson also said. “I’ll let him know to expect your touch.”
At 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Bootsma did not respond to the request for comment. At 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, the Lynden Christian Schools website made no comment on the district’s closure due to COVID-19.
Morin explained in the press release from the county health department that “several cases and / or exposures in almost every year and class and several classrooms and years that met the operational definition of the health department of a school-associated epidemic ”.
Amy Harley, co-head of health for Whatcom County, said the department supported the shutdown. She said district campuses are closed to both in-person instruction and extracurricular activities.
“The temporary closure of Lynden Christian Schools is an unfortunate but necessary step to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the school environment and prevent further risks to the entire community,” said Harley. “We support the school board‘s decision to temporarily close in-person education and extracurricular activities to quickly reduce the current outbreak so that the school can reopen for in-person learning when it is safe to do so. “
The statement from the Ministry of Health indicated that the closure of the LCS was necessary because:
• Evidence of a school-associated COVID-19 outbreak with uncontrolled disease transmission.
• Limited adherence to Washington State Department of Health K-12 COVID-19 requirements for summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 school year and state schools for contact tracing requirements and disease notification.
• Unsuccessful efforts to comply with the above requirements through communications between the Whatcom County Health Department and Lynden Christian Schools over the past three weeks.