Bixby Elementary daycare class quarantined after possible COVID-19 exposure

Nine students and two staff members at Florence Bixby Elementary School have been asked to quarantine since Monday to avoid potential spread of COVID-19.

The district did not say who or how many people at the school tested positive for the virus, citing confidentiality requirements.

“Last week, our school district notified families of a class of nine children in the Kids Club at Bixby Elementary School that the children may have been exposed to COVID-19, and that due to this potential exposure, the children should quarantine at home,” Chris Eftychiou, spokesman for Long Beach Unified School District, said in an email.

While regular classes remain virtual, the district-run Kids Club daycare program has returned to on-campus programming.

Supervisors of all 10 Kids Club sites across the city have previously raised concerns about the circumstances of their return to campuses and requested hazard pay.

In an email to the district on Aug. 28, supervisors said that since their return on Aug. 21 they have not received adequate personal protective equipment, or PPE.

“Many of us have children of our own, family members that are immunocompromised, or live in multigenerational homes,” the email said. “We do not want to be responsible for bringing this virus home to our families.”

Eftychiou denied the allegation, stating that “staff has had all of the necessary personal protective equipment.”

Kids Club supervisors also questioned why staff was asked to return to campuses while teachers were given the option to work from home, a decision the district defended.

“The decision for in person learning was based on multiple parameters including government requirements, the need to provide services for essential workers throughout the community, and the needs of students,” Steven Rockenbach, the school district’s director of employee relations and ethics, said in an emailed response to the site supervisors. “This decision was not taken lightly.”

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Alena Maschke writes about all things business and beyond for the Long Beach Business Journal/Long Beach Post. Born and raised in Germany, she first fell in love with California during an exchange year at UCLA. After receiving her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2017, she returned to the Golden State with an appetite for great stories, pupusas and the occasional Michelada.