Superintendent's Update

 

Superintendent Denia Reese
Mrs. Denia Reese

Superintendent’s Message December 15, 2020


SECONDARY SCHOOL JANUARY SCHEDULE

I monitor the school system and community COVID data daily. On the school system’s November 19th COVID weekly report, secondary school quarantines were very high at 75% of the system’s total. To provide for social distancing, I transitioned middle and high schools to the hybrid schedule on November 30th.

After a week on the hybrid schedule, the secondary school quarantines had decreased to 52% of the school system’s total quarantines (December 3rd weekly report), and we’ve seen another decrease to 42% of the total on the current report (December 10th).

Contact tracing is a challenge for our secondary schools when social distancing isn’t possible. I’ve received reports that when we were on the 4-day week, a student might return from a 14-day quarantine, attend school for a week, and have to quarantine again. Our secondary schools report that the hybrid schedule helps students participate in face-to-face instruction more consistently, allows our athletes and bands to continue their seasons, and enables school principals and nurses to manage contact tracing.

The hybrid model has reduced the number of quarantines, and on the December 10th report, there is a significant decrease in positive cases system-wide. On the November 19th weekly report, 19 secondary students tested positive (77% of the total), and on December 3rd, 23 secondary students tested positive (72%), and on the December 10th report, 8 secondary students tested positive (44%).

When I made the decision to transition to hybrid on November 19th, the 7-day average in Catoosa County was 22.7 cases per day (according to the Department of Public Health website). On December 10th the 7-day average had increased to 31.6 positive cases per day. While we are seeing a decrease in positive cases and quarantines in the school system, I continue to closely monitor the COVID situation in the county.

Based on this data, middle and high schools will REMAIN on the HYBRID schedule in January. We cannot predict how the Christmas break will impact the spread of COVID in the school system and the community. I will monitor our data when we return to school in January to determine the secondary school schedule for February.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SCHEDULES (including PreK)

Elementary Schools will remain on a 5-day a week schedule. Social distancing is possible in elementary schools since most classes have 16-18 students. Overall, elementary school students represent 27% (47 students) of positive cases since school started. I watch student and employee cases closely, and I will make decisions for individual schools as necessary. Recently, Boynton students had to transition to digital learning for two days. If cases or quarantines increase with students or employees, an elementary classroom or school may transition to digital learning.

COVID CONTACT TRACING AND REPORTING DURING CHRISTMAS BREAK

Catoosa County Public Schools will continue contact tracing during the Christmas holiday. If a student or employee tests positive, please email the school principal or nurse. The system will determine close contacts and communicate with individuals who need to quarantine. Only individuals who are close contacts of someone who tests positive will receive an email and/or text message. To maintain transparency, the system will continue to publish a weekly report on December 23rd and December 30th.

I would like to thank our students, parents, employees, and community members for their cooperation and support through this first semester of school during COVID. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, and I hope you enjoy a wonderful break with your family and friends.

 
Please click here to access the CCPS Transition Form

 

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