MCSD snow days will now be required online days

By: 
Staff report

     With the Monticello School District half way through the first semester of school, Superintendent Brian Jaeger feels they have finally found their rhythm.

     “We will continue to have situations and we will have to navigate those to the best of our ability,” he said in his weekly update.

     Jaeger said the school will undoubtedly continue to see positive COVID-19 cases, with students and staff having to quarantine as the school year progresses.

     “Masks, at the secondary level, have managed to mitigate sending so many students home to quarantine,” he said. “But there are still situations such as recess, lunch, sports, PE, etc. where students are still being exposed to someone close to them without a mask.”

     In the two elementary schools, Shannon and Carpenter, those students are together all day in the classroom, lunch, PE and recess.

     “That has made contact tracing more complicated at the elementary level,” admitted Jaeger. “The good news is that the statistics out there show that students in the lower grades are only half as likely to test positive compared to students in the upper grades.” Older students tend to have a more active social life than elementary-age students outside of the school day.

     The MCSD currently has 14 people in isolation, and 41 under quarantine. That’s five percent of the student body out of COVID-19-related reasons.

     “This number is down from the last week,” Jaeger said.

     Approximately 211 students in PreK-12 are taking part in hybrid learning or full online learning. That’s 21 percent of the student population.

     “This number has dropped slightly this week.”

     With nine weeks into the school year, Jaeger reminds parents to talk with their students and teachers about whether online learning is the best option right now.

     “If you’d like to return to brick-and-mortar learning, contact your building principal,” offered Jaeger.

     As winter sports approach (basketball, wrestling, and bowling), some guidance has been released by the state concerning the pandemic. The school will be taking precautions with students during practices such as taking temperatures, practicing good hygiene, and hand washing.

     Fans attending the games will have to wear masks. Players and coaches on the benches will also be wearing masks.

     “All schools in our conference will follow this same guidance,” Jaeger said.

     The Monticello High School gym tends to fill up for basketball games; Jaeger said it’s even more important to wear a mask when attending those games due to close contact with others.

     “We will provide the safest situation as possible,” he said. “It’s very important to us that our students get to participate in their athletic seasons.”

     Jaeger also provided an update concerning inclement winter weather. In the past, the district called for snow days, meaning there was no school that day. Now, any snow days will be required online learning days, much like the district does every Wednesday.

     “This allows us to not extend our school year into June,” he said.

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