I hope you had a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. Despite what is going on nationally and globally, I believe there is still plenty to be thankful for. I hope you do too.
As planned, in-person learners will return to classrooms on Monday. We went to 100% remote learning this week as a precautionary response to the Thanksgiving holiday in the event families traveled and/or gathered with people outside of their “bubble”. This way, if there was any possibility of exposure to the virus, there was enough time for symptoms to appear while students were still at home rather than when they were back here at school. This was an effort to prevent classrooms from being disrupted with possible quarantine closures.
While we believe this approach will help mitigate the spread of the virus at school, I am asking (pleading, actually) that families of in-person students who traveled or gathered with others outside of their “bubble” either this week or last weekend voluntarily quarantine this week due to the current number of cases in the local community. We need your support and commitment to this in order for us to be able to continue offering in-person learning. Students who do voluntarily quarantine will be given work from their classroom teacher to complete so they do not need to switch to the remote learning track during this time. Thank you in advance for your help with this. We need to take care of each other now more than ever.
Here is another way you can help support the school in remaining open for in-person learning. Please continue to monitor your child(ren) for any of the symptoms below and err on the side of COVID. Whereas in the past, for example, we may have attributed a runny nose to allergies or sinusitis, now we need to assume that symptom is COVID related and we need to keep the child(ren) home.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
As you may recall from an earlier update, a head epidemiologist at the Maricopa County Department of Public Health said that when a school is considering whether or not to close in response to the benchmark data in the local community, certain school-level data points need to be considered. I included our data (as of the writing of this communication) below.
The ages and grades of our students – most of the increase in number of cases in schools are within high school and college student populations. This continues to be the case.
Are we able to staff our classrooms – what is the staff absentee rate? We have 3 staff out for illness on the elementary campus and 2 staff out on the ECC. None are lead teachers.
What percentage of students are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19? 0% with symptoms, 6 out of 305 first through eighth graders (.02%) are home quarantining due to family cases.
What percentage of in-person staff are currently positive for COVID? .02%
What percentage of in-person students are currently positive for COVID? 0%
Would we be able to transition to all remote learning quickly? Yes.
Fortunately, our percentages have been significantly lower than the local community benchmark data. In order for this to continue to be the case, and for the school to remain open for in-person learning, we need everyone’s support. Please voluntarily quarantine if appropriate, keep your children home if they show any COVID related symptoms, continue to “bubble up”, “hunker down” and follow the other guidelines recommended by health officials.
Please continue to call the absentee line to report absences and signs of illness, report any confirmed or suspected COVID cases to the office, and let’s keep lines of communication open.
The CDC is reducing the required number of days for an individual to quarantine. Once the county publishes the new guidelines, I will send them out to you. The county anticipates getting them to us on Monday. This will allow students to return to school more quickly.
Unconscious Bias and Discrimination
We received a lot of positive feedback about Eric Bailey’s presentation on Unconscious Bias and Discrimination which took place on November 19. I will send out an email with more information regarding that on Monday including a link to the recording of the presentation in the event you were unable to attend. Please keep an eye out for it.