Burien’s Kennedy Catholic High School canceled classes on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among 13 students and staff, President/Principal Matthew Mohs announced in a video message recorded Thursday evening, Dec. 16.
Twelve students and one staff member tested positive recently for COVID-19, Mohs said. None are considered serious at this time.
Of the 13 infected, two were unvaccinated and 11 are considered “breakthrough” cases.
This outbreak may be traced to a recent wrestling tournament Kennedy participated in last weekend in Fife that became a spreader event.
The specific strain of the virus is unknown at this time, but Mohs expressed concern about the rapid recent spread of the Omicron variant.
This is the first time that the school has been closed due to the virus since the initial COVID-19 shutdown in March, 2020.
In addition to canceling classes, the school’s annual Christmas assembly – held on the last day before winter break – was also canceled. Friday is the final day before winter break, and students are scheduled to return to campus Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.
“Given the number of cases that have come in the last couple of days – we are at about 12 now across the community – we have decided that it is just too risky to bring our students back on campus for one more day of activities prior to winter break,” Mohs said. “We know that Christmas break is an important time for you to gather with family and friends and we do not want to jeopardize the health and safety of our community. So we have made the difficult decision to postpone school tomorrow. We will postpone the assembly and hopefully be able to return after break and have our winter wishes celebration with the students we’re looking forward to.”
Mohs encouraged everyone to get vaccinated or to get their booster shot.
“Please, if you are unvaccinated, consider getting vaccinated so you can keep your family and community safe,” he added. “If you have not received a booster, please consider getting the booster shot and if you have any symptoms for COVID whatsoever, please seek out testing for either a rapid test or a PCR test. The rapidity at which COVID is spreading does seem to be increasing, so it would be very helpful if we all do our part. Thank you very much. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year. I look forward to seeing you all back in January.”
Another issue Mohs raised in his announcement was a recent TikTok trend about school violence, which he said he had little awareness of it until he got an alert.
“This is not something we were concerned about at all, but given the timing and decisions that other schools were making, we wanted to make sure that didn’t become a rumor,” Mohs added.
Here’s Mohs video announcement: