MCSD looks to develop plans for prom, music, graduation

Staff report

     With the below-freezing temperatures recently and continuous snowfalls, the Monticello Community School District uses “snow days” as required online/virtual learning days. So at the end of the school year, students won’t have to make up snow days tacked onto the end of the school calendar.

     Superintendent Brian Jaeger said the district has had three snow days thus far (not including Monday, Feb. 15). Student attendance for those virtual snow days has resulted in 70 to 80 percent attendance at the secondary level, and 80 to 90 percent attendance at the elementary level.

     “On a normal school day, our attendance is over 90 percent, so please talk to your child(ren) about their attendance on virtual snow days,” Jaeger urged.

     Now that many of the MCSD staff have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Jaeger said he’s been receiving many comments from people asking when masks will no longer be required, as well as hand sanitizer and social distancing.

     “I think we all want that, however, that will be something that happens slow and steady,” he said. “Please remember that 80 percent of the people who come to our schools everyday are students, and I have recently heard that a vaccine may be available as early as September for children under 16. Even then, every parent will face that moral dilemma, ‘should we get them vaccinated?’”

     Jaeger said the MCSD would continue to follow the guidance of Jones County Public Health.

     “We will move back to ‘more normal’ when we can,” added Jaeger.

     He reflected on how far the district has come since the start of the school year in August throughout the pandemic.

     “In the next few weeks, we will transition to allow more basketball fans at our home tournament games (masks required), and we will be developing plans for what prom, the musical, high school/middle school band and choir, and graduation may look like in the upcoming months,” offered Jaeger.

     In terms of COVID numbers throughout the MCSD, Jaeger said they continue to drop “in all the right places.”

     The Jones County 14-day positivity rate as of Feb. 12 sat at 8.1 percent. The Monticello rate was 6.2 percent. In the last seven days, there have been seven positive COVID cases in Monticello.

     There are five students and one staff member in isolation, and four students and zero staff under quarantine. Those numbers amount to 1 percent of the student body and less than 1 percent of the total staff.

     There is also 108 students PreK-12 taking part in either full online or hybrid learning. That’s 11 percent of the total students.

     Both the number of COVID-related absences and those returning to full in-person learning have dropped in the last week.

     “Let’s keep moving forward,” praised Jaeger.


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