A new preschool program at the Knappa School District has shut down until Sept. 20 after a student tested positive for the coronavirus.

The school district was also told another preschool student was considered a close contact in a separate virus case.

Knappa parking lot

The Knappa School District has temporarily closed a preschoool program over coronavirus concerns.

The preschool closure impacts 18 children who were enrolled in the Knappa Early Learning program, which launched on Sept. 1.

Precise contact tracing would have been difficult. With the way the program is run and given how preschoolers interact with each other, anybody could have been in contact with anybody else, Superintendent Bill Fritz noted.

“We’re disappointed that it had to happen, but we want to keep kids safe,” Fritz said. “We felt it to be in everybody’s best interest to take a pause.”

The school district has cautioned families to monitor their children for any symptoms. At this point, Fritz said he is not worried about impacts to other grade levels. The preschool program is not located on campus and the two students impacted by the virus do not have siblings in the school district’s system.

The school district offers virus testing if needed.

School leadership opened Knappa Early Learning to provide an option for families looking for public education-based child care, but primarily to provide these youngest students with an early boost to their education.

The Oregon Health Authority, in a weekly outbreak report, disclosed a virus case for a student at Seaside High School and a virus case for a student at Pacific Ridge Elementary School in late August.

The health authority also reported seven new virus cases for Clatsop County on Friday, 37 new virus cases on Thursday and six new virus cases on Wednesday. Since the pandemic began, the county had recorded 1,988 virus cases and 24 deaths as of Friday.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or kfrankowicz@dailyastorian.com.