LYNDEN, Wash. — Lynden Christian Schools (LCS) Board President Jon DeJong told families via email last night that classes were canceled for today, Wednesday, September 29th, and would resume tomorrow in a remote online classroom format for 2 weeks.
DeJong said in the email to parents they were responding to, “a notice received by the Whatcom County Health Department of an intent to close Lynden Christian School as a way of controlling the COVID-19 cases in our school.” In response, the Board voted to temporarily return to distance learning for 2 weeks “to avoid a forced closure.”
LCS Superintendent Paul Bootsma had emailed families on Saturday, September 25th, to let them know about the Health Department’s concerns, current student COVID-19 counts and need for heightened mitigation protocols.
Yesterday afternoon, families received another email from Bootsma advising them that Wednesday classes were canceled and the Board would be meeting that evening to develop a plan for going forward.
No other Whatcom County school districts report having received similar notifications from the Whatcom County Health Department.
The Whatcom County Health Department issued a statement regarding the LCS decisions today.
Whatcom County health officers deemed that closing Lynden Christian Schools was necessary to protect the public’s health given:
* Evidence of a school-associated outbreak of COVID-19 with uncontrolled disease transmission.
* Limited adherence to both Washington State Department of Health K-12 COVID-19 Requirements for Summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 School Year and state requirements of schools for contact tracing and disease notification.
* Unsuccessful efforts to reach compliance with the above requirements through communications between the Whatcom County Health Department and Lynden Christian Schools over the past three weeks.
In reviewing available COVID-19 information from Lynden Christian Schools, Whatcom County Health Department noted multiple cases and/or exposures in nearly every grade and classroom and several classrooms and grades that met the Health Department’s operating definition of a school-associated outbreak.
Whatcom County Health Department – September 29, 2021
In addition to the press release, WCHD Communications Specialist Melissa Morin told Whatcom News via email, “We are not discussing closures with any other schools at this time.”
This story was updated at 1pm on September 29th with information from a Whatcom County Health Department press release distributed via email at 12:40pm. It was updated again at 2:45pm with a statement from the Health Department Communications Specialist.