CHULA VISTA, Calif. — One of the first school districts in the state to reopen is now seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases. The spreading Delta variant has caused new cases to spike throughout the county, including in the Sweetwater Union High School District.
As of Monday morning, the district reported 58 COVID cases among its students and staff since reopening July 21st. That’s 0.14% of the district's 40,000 students and staff.
"We have concerns," said Dr. Thomas Leete.
Dr. Leete is a science teacher at Eastlake High School, where eight COVID cases have been reported.
Among his concerns: the district's quarantine policy, which mandates anyone with COVID stay home for 10 days, and then return with a negative test.
For those in contact with that person, if they're vaccinated, they can remain on campus as long as they're symptom-free. If they're not vaccinated, they can still stay if they agree to a series of COVID tests over a 10-day period.
"The problem is that quarantining only works when you actually isolate the people who are contagious, and with this Coronavirus people are contagious before they have symptoms," said Dr. Leete.
The district has already cancelled after-school activities for the next four weeks, including dances. Sports are still allowed.
Dr. Leete said that's a start, but what about other events like an assembly planned at his school later this week, where masks aren't required since it’s outside.
"We're still gonna have an assembly where the entire school body will be in the stands I believe," said Dr. Leete.
A district spokesperson tells News 8 policies are based off of guidance from the CDC, San Diego Public Health Department and the County Office of Education, adding COVID cases on campuses are expected given the overall rise in the surrounding community.
"We are taking all the necessary precautions and following the necessary guidance as well," said Nadege Johnson.
Dr. Leete does credit the district for following current protocols, but said he and his fellow staff members plan to voice their concerns to the board, hoping they'll make some adjustments.
“The only way we can allow people back on campus or close contacts is if we actually had a daily test that could be taken before they walk on campus that would be very very effective at defining contagious people and outside of that our current protocols are going to fail,” said Dr. Leete.
Watch related: New school year in San Diego, already new cases of COVID on campuses