West Central closed for cleanup following positive COVID-19 test of parent


HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) – Students at the West Central School District spent the day at home due to coronavirus concerns, making it the first school district in the state to close.

The school district was closed Wednesday in order to deep clean the school after finding out a parent of a student tested positive for COVID-19. At 3 p.m. today an update was posted by the school saying they will also be closed Thursday and Friday. All activities, meetings and practices are canceled through Sunday, March 15th.

Superintendent Brad Berens says the cleaning process started late last night.

“At about 11:30, we did have a crew in this facility go around and do some ionizer cleaning,” Berens said.

Crews used different levels of cleaners to disinfect classrooms, bathrooms, lunchrooms and lockers.

“We’re also cleaning the buses and vans that are used for transportation as well,” Berens said.

Berens says it would be difficult to get all the cleaning done in one day.

“There’s just so many things that have to be hand scrubbed. So, it’s possible that it will be a more than one day process,” Berens said.

Dave Obenauer, owner of Joshua’s Coffeehouse in Hartford, says he made the decision to stay open today to give students a place to hangout.

“We’re not concerned of it, we’re not afraid of it, that’s why we’re open. Kids usually come and hang out here, so we’re expecting them to come hangout,” Obenauer said.

Obenauer says he’s not letting the fear of the coronavirus impact his day-to-day life.

“Life’s too short. It’s too short to sweat the small things. It’s too short for us to worry about things,” Obenauer said.

Berens says the school is working closely with the department of health to decide when it will be able to reopen the school.

As for when they do let students back in, Berens says they are currently working on that phase of the plan so there can be protocols in place to remind students to do things like wash their hands throughout the day. You can stay updated on the progress of the cleaning on the school district’s website and social media pages.

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