Arcadia This Week 1/9/2022
Hello, Arcadia families, students, and friends,
We are looking forward to being physically back at school this week! Please make sure to bring your best (highest filtration) mask(s) and be ready to eat quickly at lunch to limit time without one. As you’ll see in the COVID Update, the unchecked spread of COVID-19 in this area is a serious concern.
Monday: Day 2
Tuesday: Day 3
Wednesday: Day 4
Thursday: Day 5
Friday: Day 6
Rice County’s COVID-19 case rate for the one-week period ending January 4, 2022 was 407.63/100,000 in a one-week period. According to the CDC, for the one-week period ending January 9, 2022, it is up to 595.77/100,000–quite a jump. A case rate above 100/100,000 in a one-week period indicates a high level of community transmission. Here is a link to the CDC explaining more about the transmission levels: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/aboutcovidcountycheck/index.html
For detailed information about this area, here is a link to the Rice County website: http://www.co.rice.mn.us/492/Coronavirus-disease-COVID-19-Current-Sit
Here is a link to the CDC’s Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools:
To give you a sense of how Arcadia is thinking about the current surge in cases:
We generally follow the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidance, and right now the MDH is largely relying on CDC guidance, which is stressing that schools should stay open. Arcadia does tend to be a bit more conservative in our handling of COVID-19 than the MDH or CDC. For example, we might have people quarantine for longer, depending on the situation, than the guidance alone might suggest. We also moved to distance learning for the first week back because we didn't have the rapid tests from the State yet, and we felt that coming straight back could result in a massive spike if we didn’t give students a chance to test after likely gathering with others over the break.
Though we made the shift for last week, Arcadia is not planning to move to distance learning again unless we absolutely must. There could be a scenario where too many people (staff) are stuck quarantining to continue in person. It's impossible to predict the course of this virus, but too many people out is the main reason that we would shift to distance learning. The previous metric to determine when schools moved online, which was based on case rate, is no longer in play. The message from the CDC is to stay open unless we physically cannot. That said, any choice we make will be based on Arcadia-specific data. For example, if the number of cases inside Arcadia made it clear that transmission was occuring unchecked amongst students, we might discuss moving to online. We will not necessarily follow the Northfield School District–we could stay in-person even if Northfield moved to distance learning. The bus company is required to provide transportation to Arcadia even if Northfield closes.
In terms of keeping families abreast of information, if there is a positive case in the building, I send out a letter notifying families of the dates the positive case would have been in the building, and we contact any close contacts or suspected close contacts. We don't have a dashboard, because up to this point, we've never had enough cases at a time to make a dashboard necessary (we've only had a few cases in the building total, and only one at a time). If the numbers exceeded four active cases in the building (5+) in the preceding fourteen days, I would send a message to families and start including a number in this newsletter, similar to Northfield's dashboard, if you are familiar with that.
More information about testing: We have ordered more CUE tests, which we're finding to be most useful. They have the accuracy of a PCR test, but the speed of an at-home antigen test. Students can schedule a test at any time by contacting our school nurse, Gail Setterstrom (email@example.com) or me. We are hoping to use the tests to allow people to stay after an exposure (as long as they test negative), for previously symptomatic students who have recovered and want to return to school more quickly, or, of course, for symptomatic students who want to make sure they don’t have COVID-19.
We also have BD Veritor tests, one box per student, available to send home. The BD Veritor tests do require you to download a phone app to “read” the test. We are finding that the app doesn’t work with some of the phones that people have. Here is a list of the devices that should work with the app and allow you to use the test: https://www.bdveritorathome.com/en-us/devices
I realize this is a lot of information–please feel free to email me if you have any questions!
Attendance Policy Changes
The Board has approved the changes to the Student Handbook regarding attendance. Please review the section entitled “School Attendance Policy, Procedures, and Truancy Information” to see the revisions. The policy is now in alignment with Minnesota Statutes.
If you are interested in the Minnesota Statutes surrounding truancy, here is a link: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/260A
Jan. 10: In-person class resumes
Jan. 13, 4:00pm-5:00pm: Arcadia Finance Committee Meeting, online: https://meet.google.com/oir-cihj-vxt
Or dial: (US) +1 575-305-4543 PIN: 952 009 179#
Jan. 17: No School (MLK Day)
Jan. 18, 6:30pm-9:00pm: Arcadia School Board Meeting, in-person at Arcadia and online: https://meet.google.com/buw-nxop-qmd
Or dial: (US) +1 321-465-5002 PIN: 929 499 461#
Jan. 21: End of Quarter 2
Jan. 24: No School (Teacher Prep Day)
Jan. 25: Beginning of Quarter 3
Jan. 28: Asynchronous Learning Day
Have a great week!