Next Steps in our Pandemic Protocols

Updated February 7, 2022

On March 13, 2020 we began the process of our formal response to a global pandemic.  Over that time we have seen lock downs, masking, variants, vaccines, boosters, and evolving treatments.  The only thing that is 100% certain, we have had two full years of being exposed to various protocols for responding to the virus.  We don’t expect 100% agreement on anything else about the pandemic beyond the fact that 2-years is a long time to be dealing with anything like this.

 

We are assuming that our post holiday COVID conditions were mostly likely due to the Omicron Variant.  Throughout the pandemic we have asked our parents and staff to report COVID conditions through a google form.  This is what was reported by those who submitted to COVID testing in the month of January: 

  • 167 people reported testing results

    • 106 reported testing positive

      • 50 -Vaccinated

      • 50 -Unvaccinated

      • 1 -Had COVID in the past 90 Days

      • 5 -Not comfortable providing vaccination status

      • 55 -Ages 12 and over

      • 51 -Ages 11 and under

 

Dealing with transmissible disease is not new to public education.  For those that may not remember, in February of 2020 we were experiencing a significant incidence of the flu, both stomach and respiratory.  We were leveraging overtime to clean our spaces, reducing access to water fountains, and considering modifying our calendar to create a 4-day weekend to slow the transmission.  We have learned a great deal through the pandemic as it relates to dealing with the transmission of illness in our schools.  Concepts and protocols that we are considering adopting or have already adopted:

  • The use of RZero’s technology to clean our surfaces to a hospital grade of cleanliness and further leverage their new technology in our classrooms of most frequent transmission of illness.  We also leverage this technology when a student leaves school during the day with a reported illness in order to quickly clean the classroom.

  • Install bottle fillers rather than drinking fountains.

  • Use of masks when a student reports ill to the nurse or is waiting in the office to be picked up due to illness.

  • Staying home when sick and returning to school once well.  We’ve accepted that some “sickness” does not constitute an airborne or transmissible illness, and when that is the case, we accept that some of our students and staff will likely be at school.  But, when there are clear symptoms of illness and a likelihood of being contagious exists, we should stay home until we’ve been without those symptoms for 24-hours.

 

Immediately prior to the holiday break this year, approximately 75% of our students and staff were either vaccinated or had previously been positive with COVID-19.   Combine those data points with the impact of Omicron, it’s possible that between vaccination and the positive cases in the past 90-days we could assume our environment is able to withstand the persistent presence of the various variants of the virus.  No decision will be 100% perfect, but our goal is to make the most reasonable decisions given the information that we have available.

 

It’s important to remember that we’ve committed to two primary objectives that have sustained throughout the past two years: 1) educate our students in the best way possible and we believe that to be in our classrooms with their peers and our educational professionals, and 2) to remain open so that our families can conduct life as necessary in order to go about their lives.  We do not know what the Governor intends for schools for the remainder of this year so we are looking at SY2022-23 and attempting to create a reasonable approach to school through an “endemic” lens rather than the pandemic lens of the last two years.  It’s time to begin to take incremental steps toward a return to pre pandemic normalcy.

 

Protocols updated for February 7, 2022

  • We’ve all lived with this for 2-years and are capable of navigating it independently.  Parents, Students, and Staff should report an absence due to illness as we always have but we will no longer require any follow up with the school district related to COVID-19 testing.  There will be no need to fill out the reporting form from this point forward.

  • If you are sick, you should stay home until you are well and then return to school or work. You should be free from symptoms for 24-hours before your return.

  • COVID will in some form remain present and if anyone is particularly vulnerable, they should remain vigilant and work collaboratively with their physician to best respond to any symptoms.

  • A summary of CDC guidance and protocols are available on our website and social media sites for your reference and you should navigate them in cooperation with your healthcare provider.  COVID GUIDANCE SUMMARY

  • We will migrate to our Level 1 mitigation protocols.  Our protocols are somewhat different from the original Learning in LeRoy document.  The modifications are based upon 3 main variables; 1) Voluntary availability of vaccines for school age children, 2) Percentage of staff and students who are either vaccinated or have had COVID in the past 90-days, and 3) Modified CDC protocols.