Message to Families - November 5th, 2020
Masks Required for All Students
Message to Families:
I again need to begin with a sincere thank you for all of your support this school year. We continue to be impressed with how our staff, students and families are responding to the challenges of ‘school’ during a pandemic.
Yesterday we joined 28 other public and private schools and met with Three Rivers Public Health Department and Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department to discuss schools’ protocols that follow the Risk Dial.
The Risk Dial used by Three Rivers and Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Departments uses eight data points on a three week rolling average. The Risk Dial is broken into four colors associated with the level of risk. The Low (Green) level of risk is 0-0.5, the Moderate (Yellow) level of risk is 0.5-2, the High (Orange) level of risk is 2-3.5 and the Severe (Red) level of risk is 3.5-4.
Each of the 29 public and private schools have created their own protocols associated with the level of risk identified weekly by the dial. Until this point, schools have had plans to transition from in class learning to a hybrid or fully remote model in the Orange and Red levels. Today, in accordance with guidance from Three Rivers and Elkhorn Logan Valley Health Departments, schools are announcing they will plan to keep students in class as much and for as long as possible. “We have not experienced any school transmission of COVID-19 among students and staff members at the schools in our districts. Keeping students and staff in school is the safest place for them to be as they continue to wear masks and social distance during a substantial part of their day,” stated Terra Uhing, Executive Director of Three Rivers Public Health Department.
“Every school district will need to adjust their protocol based on their individual circumstances. The Risk Dial serves as a data point within the region and each county to provide an insight into the spread of the virus and how well we are managing to limit the spread,” stated Melissa Nemec, Assistant Health Director for Elkhorn Logan Valley Health Department. “For school districts, the number of cases within a school building or classroom serves as a barometer for how well the protocols in place are working.” To date, schools that have had to close were closely related to their ability to find substitutes while individuals were required to quarantine.
It is the goal of all of the entities that met to provide a safe learning environment for our students, staff and community. These are challenging times, we have learned that in order to keep our students and staff safe while minimizing community spread, wearing masks, social distancing and keeping them in school is a huge step in this endeavor.
As for Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools, we have recently seen an increase in the number of positive COVID19 cases among students and staff. None of the positive cases have been traced to contact within the school environment. The number of positive cases represents a small percentage of our school population; Three Rivers Public Health Department is supportive of our district continuing to operate as is while increasing attention to mitigation strategies. Beginning on Monday, November 9th masks will be required to be worn by all students and staff at all times and locations within the school environment. Note: this does represent a change from previously communicated expectations. An exception to the mask requirement may be made for students for whom documentation has been provided by a medical doctor indicating a reason why a mask cannot be worn.
Again, at this time, Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools will continue to operate at full capacity. Though it is our goal to remain at full capacity, we will also be responsive to the status of virus spread in our school community and the recommendations of our local health department. As a reminder, if we do need to revise our protocols or transition to a different plan in order to best serve our students and keep students and staff safe, school may need to be temporarily closed.
Thanks to the diligence of our students, staff, athletes, coaches, and families in adhering to health and safety protocols, we are feeling so grateful that we are able to serve students in school and that our students continue to have the opportunity to compete and perform! Continued adherence to safety expectations will increase our chances of keeping students in school and active in extracurricular activities!
Thank you for your support!