El Paso County Public Health added a local community college, a school district and a Palmer Lake school to its list of COVID-19 outbreaks Friday, the same day the Colorado Springs area's largest district said it would transition one of its high schools to online learning Monday because of the pandemic.
Air Academy High School, located on the Air Force Academy, plans to resume in-person learning on Oct. 26, Academy School District 20 spokeswoman Allison Cortez said in a Friday email.
Nearly 100 students and eight teachers were in quarantine Friday after contact tracers determined they had close contact with someone with COVID-like symptoms, she said.
Meanwhile, El Paso County Public Health added Pikes Peak Community College's Centennial Campus, on the city's south side, to its list of outbreaks, with two cases reported Thursday. The two are from the school's nursing assistant class.
The classroom and nearby common areas "have been disinfected, and that class has not met on campus since Sept. 28," school spokeswoman Karen Kovaly told The Gazette on Friday, adding that there are currently no known positive cases on campus.
Palmer Lake Elementary School also has been added, with two cases reported Tuesday. Harrison School District 2 staff were also added to the county's outbreak list, with three cases reported Sunday. County and state health departments define an outbreak as two or more cases of the virus in two or more households within two weeks.
Lewis-Palmer School District 38 spokeswoman Julie Stephen confirmed the outbreak at Palmer Lake Elementary to The Gazette on Friday, saying that the two individuals who had tested positive were staff and that the school is operating as usual, with in-person learning for those that chose it.
According to a district dashboard updated Thursday, D-38 currently has four students and four staff that have tested positive and 161 in quarantine. It has so far quarantined 385 students and staff.
District 2 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Earlier this week, District 20 announced that three of its schools had transitioned to online learning. Prairie Hills Elementary, Foothills Elementary and Pine Creek High School plan to return to in-person learning later this month after reporting new COVID-19 concerns, Cortez said.
According to a dashboard with COVID-19 data debuted by the district this week, D-20 has seen 30 cases of the sometimes deadly virus, with 68 now in isolation and 1,303 in quarantine — slightly more than 4% of students and staff. So far, 4,359 students and staff have been isolated and/or quarantined, nearly 15% of students and staff.
Colorado Springs School District 11, the area's second largest district, debuted a similar dashboard this week. According to that dashboard, the district has seen 33 confirmed cases, so far.
The dashboard does not list active or cumulative quarantines or isolations. Spokeswoman Devra Ashby said Thursday that the district didn't want the dashboard to become "too complicated." However, as of Thursday, the district had 111 staff and students quarantined and 14 in isolation.
Under updated state health department pandemic guidance released in late September, if one student or staff member tests positive for the virus, schools should anticipate grade- or schoolwide dismissals for several days to allow time for contact tracing, and anyone in contact with those who are ill should be quarantined.
The state guidance further recommends that schools be closed for two weeks when five or more classrooms or cohorts have outbreaks, or when 5% or more of unrelated staff members and/or students have confirmed cases within two weeks.