An outbreak of COVID-19 has forced Waitsburg Elementary School to close for the rest of the school year.

All students in preschool through 5th grade will switch to remote learning at home starting Tuesday after the Memorial Day weekend, said a news release from the district.

“This closure comes after a drastic increase in COVID cases in Waitsburg elementary students and staff, resulting in multiple exposures and close contacts,” said the release.

“In our small community and with students having siblings in other grade levels, these positive cases could quickly have a much larger impact,” said school officials.

The rural town of about 1,200 is 50 miles east of the Tri-Cities in Walla Walla County. The elementary has about 120 students, according to the Washington state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The school district’s COVID dashboard on Monday reported a staffer and student had tested positive. On Tuesday, the district announced that the entire second-grade class would need to quarantine.


Then, two more students and another staffer were listed as COVID positive on Tuesday, showed the dashboard.

By Friday, a total of seven students and two employees were positive.

School officials urged families to follow COVID health requirements by staying home when sick and adhering to quarantine expectations.