Dear Andrew Community,
As the Covid positivity rate increases in our community, so does the uncertainty of our ability to keep our schools open. However, based on our current data, we remain committed to keeping our schools open for in-person learning.
Despite skyrocketing Covid positivity rates in our community, schools have proven to be some of the safest places to be. In the last two weeks we have enhanced our efforts to track all Covid cases and quarantine recommendations. Since the start of the school year, we have had fewer than five confirmed Covid cases in our school building. While it is impossible to identify where these individuals are contracting the virus, the evidence we have suggests that it is not being spread in school. We recognize that even one case is more than we would prefer. However, we are encouraged that our numbers are significantly lower than that in the general population.
We know that many schools across the state are considering making the move to virtual learning. At this time, Andrew CSD has no intent of moving in that direction. Our plan to keep school open for in-person learning is based on several factors, including;
Relatively low infection rates and no evidence of spread among students and/or staff
There is no indication that our local conditions will be better in two weeks or even two months. If we made the decision to close school under the current conditions, we fear that we would be committing to the closure of in-person learning for months, or even the remainder of the year. We know that this would be extremely detrimental to our students, families, and community.
School is one of the only controlled environments we have in our community. When our staff and students are in school we have a greater opportunity to ensure that the health department’s protocols are being practiced consistently. If we close temporarily we are sending everyone into a less controlled environment, which puts all staff and students at an increased risk when we do attempt to bring everyone back together.
Keep in mind that this remains a very fluid situation that can change on a daily basis. We will continue to monitor our health and attendance data to determine if a change in delivery is warranted. If we see evidence of spread in our building we will consider alternative plans to move to a virtual learning model.
In the event that we are unable to staff classrooms due to quarantine recommendations (not wide-spread transmission in our school) we will plan to transition a single classroom to a virtual learning model before we make the decision to cancel in-person learning for the building.
Please know that our decision to keep our schools open is the result of calculated planning done in consultation with our health department. The health of our staff and students will always be our number one priority. Thank you all for your partnership in helping us all safely navigate this unprecedented situation.