The Mountain View Los Altos High School District reported an increase in COVID-19 cases, predominantly at Los Altos High, the week of Oct. 31 to Nov. 6.
Superintendent Nellie Meyer reported the numbers at the Nov. 8 MVLA Board of Trustees meeting.
According to the MVLA COVID-19 dashboard, six students and two staff members tested positive for the virus over the one-week period. In comparison, the district has recorded a total of 30 student and 11 staff cases in the 15 months since July 1, 2020.
For the week Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, 1,760 MVLA staff and students were tested. Five people from Los Altos High, two from Mountain View High and one from Alta Vista High tested positive. Meyer said none of the recent cases were spread on campus, following Santa Clara County’s contact tracing.
“We’re seeing the same kind of indicators across the county,” she said. “Overall, still a low number, but certainly quite a few tests.”
Leyla Benson, associate superintendent for personnel, leads the COVID tracking efforts for MVLA and expressed surprise at the increase.
“I think there is an element of surprise, in particular because we’ve had significant progress after the start of school,” she said. “So, we saw a rise at the start of school, which was very likely attributable to the things that occurred at the very tail end of summer, and we are very thorough with our testing protocol and our contact tracing, and we didn’t have any in-school spread that we could detect.”
After coming in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, MVLA students and staff are required to undergo lab-process PCR testing to remain in school and participate in school-related activities. Benson said MVLA students and staff may choose to opt out of testing after close contact, but they must quarantine for 10 days, per county guidelines.
Before the recent uptick in cases, MVLA was on a downward trajectory, largely due to vaccination and booster rates increasing. However, Benson said that as the colder months arrive and people begin gathering indoors more often, it could impact the number of cases.
“We knew there were school-related activities, we knew people were having gatherings more frequently due to the higher vaccination rates and the lower COVID rates, additionally, the Halloween activities,” she said.
MVLA has taken measures to prepare for potential increases. Benson cited messages the district has sent recommending proactive measures, including testing after travel, testing before and after community gatherings, testing before and after family gatherings and masking whenever possible.
According to Benson’s communication with Santa Clara County, the recent increase is not unique to MVLA – the number of COVID cases is up in other school districts as well.