Kern County Advises School Districts to Stay Mum on COVID Cases

Last week, Centennial High School in Bakersfield made a sudden announcement that it was suspending its meal program and carrying out a “deep cleaning.” Some wondered whether a lunch staffer had tested positive for COVID-19. It was a question the school would neither confirm nor deny.

“As per guidance from the Kern County Public Health Department regarding the privacy of medical information, the Kern High School District (KHSD) cannot confirm or deny that any member of our district community has tested positive for COVID-19," KHSD said in a statement.

Kern County Supervisor Mick Gleason said health officials are "handcuffed in doing more than what they're doing" by state law.

"We’re all frustrated by the lack of information and the perception that there’s some reluctance to share information, which always give the impression of a lack of transparency," Gleason said.

The supervisor did suggest reconsideration of the policy was still possible.