Good morning everyone.
In an effort to be responsive to increased positivity on campus and the rise of internal community spread, the Leadership Team met yesterday to discuss the needs and interests of all of our stakeholders. In the end, we have decided that we will use our remaining 2 snow days to extend our upcoming long weekend to a 5 day break by canceling school Tuesday (1/18) and Wednesday (1/19).
The goal is to give everyone the opportunity to stay home to avoid more community spread, and to allow any current infections to mostly pass. As of yesterday we have just over a dozen reported cases on campus along with 20% of our student body considered close contacts. Many of these are vaccinated and not quarantined, but the number choosing to stay home increases daily. We also have our first positive case among staff.
In conjunction with this, we looked at how combining the days off with testing will help us further mitigate spread. We will conduct pooled testing tomorrow and follow up with individual testing Friday if need be. If we are then off for 5 days, we will test again right when we return. We hope this testing sandwich will help reduce transmission further. Additionally, we received word last night that the testing company will allow for a second round of weekly testing so we are arranging to add Monday pools effective 1/24.
In the end, the goal of all of this is to reduce spread and also give time to further dialogue and discuss what we can do to support learners who need to stay home while keeping as many students as possible on campus to learn. Our Friday staff meeting will center around ideas from Leadership and Staff to further these efforts. In addition, the Board is looking into scheduling a Special Board Meeting sometime in the next two weeks to further discuss longer term options. I will keep you apprised of when that ends up being scheduled.
The last thing I’d like to address here is the loss of the 2 snow days and potential impact. Our first hope is that it snows only on weekends. We realize the odds are not with us, but it never hurts to have hope. Barring that, we are planning to offer online/virtual classes on any days that we need to close campus so as to continue student learning without additional time requirements (seat minutes) that would impact our school calendar. We know there will be imperfections with this, but hope to not need to extend the school year. We will be working on plans to ensure all Staff are set up to offer this properly.
I realize that some of this is a shift from where we were last week, but our goal is to be responsive and proactive and yet also minimize any further adjustments to schedule/location and learning loss. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns or comments.
Stay safe and healthy.