Two Oregon teenagers placed in a Michigan facility where at least 37 youth tested positive for COVID-19 will soon be moved to quarantine in Oregon.
The teenagers are en route back to Oregon after being placed at Lakeside Academy in Michigan, a private facility operated by Sequel Youth and Family Services.
The two Oregon teenagers, ages 13 and 16, will be placed in a house leased by the state's child welfare department.
Oregon child welfare officials announced last week they were working to find a new placement for the teenagers after learning another child restrained by staff for throwing a sandwich had died.
Since reports of the child's death, an outbreak of the coronavirus surged at the institution. Along with the 37 youth, nine staff members have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Oregon child welfare officials declined to say whether the Oregon youth tested positive, but did say they were tested.
Once the teenagers arrive in Oregon, they will be placed in a home with a nurse and have access to education and activities, a child welfare official said.
Related: Out Of State, Out Of Mind
Between 2016 and 2018, Oregon relied increasingly on out-of-state campuses to house foster youth. After media and legislative scrutiny, and a litany of disturbing reports about neglect and abuse at such centers, the state announced it would work to bring back kids who had been sent out of state.
There are currently 11 Oregon children still placed out of state.
Jake Sunderland, a spokesperson with Oregon’s Child Welfare Department, previously told OPB the state was working to learn more about what happened to the child who died.
“What we know is that a sandwich was thrown, and a restraint was done. Restraining is only permissible when there is an imminent safety threat to the child themselves or someone around them,” Sunderland said. “We don’t know what the restraining looked like, how it was done, whether it was inappropriate — as in not done according to the rules — or an appropriate restraint that triggered an underlying medical condition.”
The student was restrained and went into cardiac arrest. The boy died the following morning.
After the boy’s death, students reportedly ran away from the property.
Michigan state authorities are investigating whether the school can keep its license.
Several Sequel facilities have been shuttered amid reports of abuse.