File photo from pre-pandemic times.


A student at Redwood Preparatory Charter School has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which has halted in-person learning for one class at the K-8 school in the Fortuna area.

Redwood Prep is one of the few local schools — almost all located in the Eel River Valley — that have opted for in-person instruction this semester, according to a database maintained by the Humboldt County Office of Education.

As the school has only one classroom per grade level, with limited interaction between them — a “cohort” model — only the class with the affected student has been moved to distance learning, school director ​Krista Croteau told the Outpost this morning.

Croteau said that the school is assiduously following the county public health division’s lead in responding to the positive test. Contact tracers are working directly with the affected students and their families, and the school is working with health officials to limit exposure.

“They pretty much call the shots and tell us what we need to do,” she said.

Any future measures — if they become necessary — will be guided by conditions on the ground, public health advice and by the reopening framework developed under the auspices of the Humboldt County Office of Education earlier this year, Croteau said. 

Asked if she had advice for other schools that may be preparing to open to in-person instruction — and which may eventually find themselves in this situation — Croteau keyed in on two things: Kindness and transparency. She said that she has already sent a notice about the positive test to all families at the school, and has spoken personally with every family directly affected by the closure.

At the same time, there is certain information she cannot provide — the identity of the affected student, or precisely which classroom was affected — and she’s asked families and staff for compassion in relation to the student’s privacy, and to their health. Her community has rallied around, she said.

“I am extremely proud of our school community, the way that we’ve come together and the engagement of our families and staff to do the best that we possibly can for kids,” she said.