34 students have tested positive, 194 quarantined; some classes sent home 

  LYNDEN ­— Lynden Christian Schools is dealing with a spike in cases of COVID-19 that forced  the administration to send home three entire class levels of students, Superintendent Paul Bootsma reported in response to an information request from the Tribune this week.

  The high school junior and senior classes were sent home last week Thursday and Friday due to nearly one-third of students out on COVID protocol. But students who could safely be back were back on campus Monday.

  All eighth graders were sent home for this week Tuesday through Friday because over half had been exposed and a few were COVID positive, Bootsma said.

  Also, a single section of second grade was sent home “because of broad exposure in that classroom,” he wrote.

  As of Tuesday, May 10, the school system had 34 students who were COVID positive and 194 students who were quarantined because of their exposure to a person who was COVID positive, Bootsma said.

  No staff were COVID positive, but six were quarantined. There have been no known hospitalizations due to COVID-19 among students or staff this year.

  The situation arises after 1,000-student Lynden Christian School had gone in-person most of the year since last Sept. 1 without any significant outbreaks of the coronavirus in the ranks, and LC is thankful for that fact, Bootsma said.

  “We are extremely blessed by God’s grace, providence and protection as we maneuver through these opportunities and challenges in faith. We are hope-filled and conscientious in our efforts to keep students, staff, families and the community safe and healthy,” he wrote.

  As increased safeguard now, LC is starting to take temperatures again of all students, who stay mostly six feet apart in their desks and must wear masks while indoors. “We have encouraged testing in order to get students back in person,” Bootsma said.

  Last week, many varsity athletics practices and games were cancelled because of the number of students affected. LC skipped  out of final Season 2 team sports. 

  Those students who are home continue to learn through virtual connection with teachers and staff.

  For the remaining four weeks of the school year, Bootsma said, “We are cautiously moving forward with plans for Season 3 sports, for graduation and for other events and activities for students.” Some of this depends on what phase Whatcom County is in in the statewide calibration of the pandemic, Bootsma said. Whatcom has been in Phase 3, but its case-rate and hospitalization numbers could send the county back to Phase 2 when the next evaluation is made next week.