COVID, Where is it at?

I know there are many questions concerning COVID going into the 2021-2022 school year.  As your illustrious COVID coordinator I have the privilege of sharing what I know.  First and foremost, the school district intends to keep mask-wearing optional and does not plan to implement social distancing going into the start of the year.  We intend to focus on teaching good hygiene, improving the indoor air quality of the school, and making sure people stay home when they are ill.  We have not had a known case of COVID in Grant County since May.

 

COVID is still around and the rules involving quarantining and isolation still exist.  People who are ill are still required to isolate for 10 days.  If you are symptom-free and without a fever for the last 24 hours, then your isolation can end.  If you are a close contact, you are to quarantine for 14 days.  You can end quarantine after 10 days if you monitor symptoms and wear a mask.  If you test negative for COVID after 5 days of the close contact, you can end quarantine as soon as 7 days after the close contact.  Please note this is after the last day of close contact.  If you live with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19, you are quarantined for the period of time that the person you live with is in isolation plus the quarantine period since that individual is released from isolation or your last contact with that individual.  If you are vaccinated or had COVID within 90 days of your last close contact and are symptom-free you are exempt from quarantine.  You are required to monitor for symptoms for 14 days but as long as you remain symptom-free, you do not have to quarantine. The health department does recommend such individuals wear a mask while monitoring for symptoms.

 

After the last legislative assembly, a law was passed preventing the governor and state health officer from issuing a mask mandate.  The decision to mask is a local decision.  Elgin/New Leipzig will work with our local health department to make informed decisions about responding to COVID.

 

You may have heard of the Delta variation of the COVID in the news.  This mutation of the virus is making the news because some vaccinated individuals have gotten ill.  Please note that only a small percent of vaccinated individuals have gotten ill.  This variation of the COVID virus is much more contagious than the strains we experienced last school year.  The number of people getting seriously ill due to Delta are not greater than what we presently know about previous strains.

 

A Student Working on a Computer

Student Working on Computer

When the state of emergency rules ended, the rules behind offering distance learning changed.  Right now, a school district can not offer distance learning unless they have a dedicated virtual academy.  We do not plan to offer this because we don’t have the staffing to provide this resource.  Districts can offer distance learning outside of a virtual academy in an emergency situation that would prevent students from attending school.  These would be situations like server weather, the building being damaged in a way to prevent safe instructor, and of course shutdowns due to a pandemic or epidemic.  We will have enough devices so that every student could be assigned one in the event of such an emergency.  If looking at an extended closure due to an emergency situation, we could offer distance learning until instruction could resume at the school.

 

So, we are heading into the school year hoping to provide our students and staff some normalcy.  Whatever happens, we plan to provide the best possible education for our students and to work with our community to make that a reality.  If you want to know more about the school’s plans in the event of a COVID or other pandemic outbreak, you can find our Smart Restart Plan on our website at http://www.gcs.k12.nd.us/pandemicresources/.  

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