Dakota Ridge Shut Down October 7th To Disinfect


Jim Jelinek

Custodians Sam Faus III (left) and Beau Dorval (right) show off their tools to disinfect the school

Emma Matson, Staff Writer

Dakota Ridge High School students and staff were required to stay home on Wednesday, October 7th, after two COVID-19 cases hit the school. Students could not enter the school for 24 hours because janitors had to disinfect the entire school.

Dr. Jim Jelinek, principal of the school, said that students and teachers were reporting that they were feeling that they had symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and more. These infected people reported with the school nurse, and then the administrators work with the school district to find places for them to get tested. The results of the tests are then reported back to the school, and while some turned out negative, two turned out positive. Contact tracing then began.

“So, if we had to quarantine any group, they would’ve been in contact with them, and it would’ve been in contact. Current regulations are if you’re like, within four walls in a room, if you will. Could be a student, could be a staff member as well. If you’re in contact with that person for longer than fifteen minutes, in a closed area, then we need to look at quarantining,” Dr. Jelinek said.

One student was quarantined, not a cohort. The student who came into the school with the virus was in school for their second period, then went home. An adult in the building also tested positive for COVID-19.

Regulations by the Jefferson County Health Department state that if you have two cases within two weeks, administrators have to close the building for 24 hours to deep clean and disinfect. Schools are allowed to open up the next day. 

Each school day, students and staff members are greeted at the entries of the school and are given hand sanitizer, masks are put on, and temperatures are checked. Students also disinfect their working areas after each class period. 

“Yesterday, when we had a 24-hour closing, they [meaning custodians] worked with our district folks, and they came in and did even more cleaning in every single area to make sure that we sanitized the entire school,” Dr. Jelinek said.

If more students are infected with the virus, administration will work with the Jefferson County nurse to determine what they need to do. The same precautions would take place, such as quarantining, contact tracing, and if there are too many cases, the school may need to be closed for longer than a day.

Jefferson County sent out an email explaining the school’s closure and procedure. (Emma Matson)

Jefferson County, along with its incorporated schools, are taking precautions seriously and are prepared for what may happen in the future.

Dakota Ridge High School was required to shut down because of two COVID-19 cases. (Emma Matson)