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Classroom disinfection gets underway at Winifred Pifer Elementary School in Paso Robles

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Posted at 2:31 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 22:17:55-05

The disinfection process got underway on Monday after an elementary school in Paso Robles was shut down due to COVID-19.

This is the first closure due to COVID-19 since Winifred Pifer Elementary School reopened in mid-November.

"The reason for it is last Thursday we became aware of a cluster of persons who had been exposed," said Curt Dubost, Superintendent of Paso Robles Joint Unified School District.

The school district did not want to specify whether the exposure or positive COVID-19 cases were among staff or students due to privacy reasons. We were told however, that there have been 14 positive COVID-19 cases at the school since last March.

"We are following with absolute fidelity with all of our guidelines to make sure that they have every confidence when we do reopen," Dubost said.

There are 437 total students enrolled at Winifred Pifer Elementary School. Before this closure, 93 students opted to learn from home and 344 kids were back on campus.

But now for the time being, everyone is back to virtual learning.

Parent, Ana Hillman says it's already proving to be a difficult adjustment for her 4th grader.

"Just because she doesn't get much help and she kind of gets frustrated online also so it's kind of better for her to go back to school but I mean she's not able to right now," Hillman said.

On Monday, crews sprayed about 20 classrooms in roughly two hours.

They used electrostatically charged mist which emits positively charged particles. They cling and coat the surfaces of the classrooms.

"We see this as an ongoing tool that we use to help with our average daily attendance, keeping our kids healthy and safe in school and it's something that helps fight not only coronavirus but also the average flu, cold etc.," explained Nelson Payton, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Director of Maintenance Operation & Transportation.

Once students return to the classroom, social distancing, mask wearing, and temperature checks will resume like all the other Paso Robles Joint Unified schools with in-person learning.

"We're teaching good health hygiene," said Ashley Aiello, Paso Robles Joint Unified Health Coordinator and District Nurse. "I have a child that goes to Paso schools. She has returned to Georgia Brown. In my view, it's safe and I'm really excited to have kids back on campus."

The school will reopen for in-person classes next Tuesday, February 16.

The school district says it followed OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration Guidelines for the school closure.