Posted on September 21st, 2020
Good Morning Staff and Parents:
A special thanks to all of you for a great start to the school year. I have heard many positive comments from community members, parents and students about “getting back to school”.
I am doing my best not to give staff and parents “email fatigue”. I do however feel I need to get information out to all of you to clarify how the process of staying in or moving learning plans works in the school district.
We are basing decisions on the recommendations coming from Amy Caron and her team from Dodge County Public Health. I am also staying in contact and taking recommendations from Chris Weiss at Mower County Public Health.
Every Monday at 2:00 pm, two from DCPH and the three Dodge County Superintendents meet via zoom. We look at the county data, zip code data, household spread cases, community spread cases, industry related cases, and this last week we even looked at College Students who are quarantining at their university, yet are listing a Dodge County address as their residence. Unfortunately, those college students count as Dodge County cases even if they quarantine out of the county.
As you probably know, DCPH is much more focused on Community spread than Household spread, unless the family members are leaving the home. This past week we learned that a significant number of the cases in Dodge County over the past 14 days are household transmissions, not community spread. This week, we also received monthly data for school aged positive cases in Dodge County from March of 2020 until today. In the past 14 days (Sept), there has only been one school aged child who tested positive for COVID 19 in the county…and fortunately that person lives and attends school out of our district. The previous months are March-2, April-0, May-8, June-3, July-3, and August-3.
I can’t emphasize enough, the 10 Cases over the past 14 days per 10,000 students is only one data point that is being considered as was clearly emphasized by the governor in his plan. As you can see, there are multiple other factors that will be considered by the administration, school board chair Patrick Towey Jr., and the school board when and if needed when making these decisions going forward.
This past week on the call, we were informed that cases are increasing, yet the reported number from MDH was 6.80 per 10,000 on Thursday. Their report usually about 4 to 7 days behind confirmation of cases with the County Public Health System. This gives MDH a chance to make sure all specimen data for each day is correct. Amy has stated numerous times that due to a drop down list, many cases from MDH are often categorized in Dodge County, even when they are Dakota County. They want the Thursday reports to be accurate and so do I.
If we ever get to a point where the cases per 10,000 has been consistently above 10 for the county and for our district zip codes, I will most likely recommend the switch to 7-12 to hybrid. Please know that there is certain to be some hesitation to keep switching from an In-Person to a Hybrid Model and back to In-Person again if the numbers keep moving above and below the number 10 and the other metrics change consistently as well.
Again, my next standing meeting is at 2:00 PM today with DCPH. I am in constant communication via email and phone with both Dodge County and Mower County Health. All information is then communicated to school board chair Patrick Towey Jr, where he and I go over the data, options, and common sense approaches to the situation.
I hope this clarifies a little more about the process. Again, if you have any questions about this, or any other COVID related happenings in the district, please reach out to us.
Superintendent Hayfield Community School