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Righetti pauses workouts after student tests positive for COVID-19

Righetti pauses workouts after student tests positive for COVID-19

From the What you need to know for Friday, November 6 series
Photos: Logan Mortensen's career at Righetti High

Righetti football players work out at a practice last year. The school has paused on-campus athletic activities due to a student testing positive for COVID-19.

Righetti High School, currently in a distance learning setting, has shut down on-campus athletic workouts after a student tested positive for COVID-19 this week.

Righetti principal Karen Rotondi notified parents in an email Wednesday night, noting the student had attended a Halloween party last weekend in Orcutt.

Neighboring St. Joseph High School, which did start on-campus instruction two weeks ago, shut down its campus and switched back to distance learning this week after a student at that school tested positive for COVID-19, also after attending a Halloween party.

"The health and safety of our students and staff are a top priority," Rotondi said in Wednesday night's email. "This letter is to inform you we were notified that a Righetti student who attended a local weekend Halloween party tested positive for COVID-19.

"It has come to our attention that additional RHS and other area high school students were at the same party. This may constitute close contact. We ask that you talk with your student and take necessary precautions if they were in attendance, including staying home, quarantining for 14 days, and contacting your health care provider."

Rotondi said the school is working with the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health.

"A Righetti High School student who attended a large private Halloween party in Orcutt has notified school staff of a positive test for Covid-19 this week," Kenny Klein, the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District public information officer, said in an email Thursday. "A second student, who may have been at the same gathering, might also be infected. Both are presently quarantined for 14 days."

St. Joseph said it will suspend distance learning for all students until Nov. 16, less than two weeks after the school began accepting students for in-person learning.

Righetti High has no in-class instruction to pause. 

"Since we are currently in a complete distance learning instructional setting, no changes will occur with class schedules. For precautionary reasons, all athletic workouts have shut down for two weeks as contact tracing is conducted," Rotondi said in her message to parents.

SMJUHSD schools resumed athletic activities on Sept. 21. All high school sports have been shut down since mid-March at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The high school sports season is slated to begin in December, with the football season scheduled to start on Jan. 7.

Rotondi urged parents to monitor students for symptoms and to contact a health care provider if anyone in a household experiences influenza-like symptoms, while also asking parents to have their children avoid large gatherings and parties.

"The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is concerned about any potential spread and has monitoring and tracking measures in place," the district statement read. "In general, it’s impossible for schools to protect or predict the behavior of young people outside of their boundaries."

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