School district gives COVID-19 update

Rice Lake Area School District administrator Randy Drost provided an update with respect to COVID-19 in the Rice Lake Area School District on Tuesday afternoon.

“Dating back to the first week of school, we have had a total of seven positive cases at the high school, one positive case at the middle school, and one positive case at the elementary level,” Drost said. “At the elementary and middle school levels, anyone quarantined in relation to those cases will be off quarantine by the middle of this week.

“At the elementary level, we are currently averaging a total of about 20-30 students per day across our elementary schools out at any given time out for:

1) Quarantine purposes

2) Waiting to be assessed/cleared by a medical professional to return to school

3) Waiting on the results of a test

“At the middle school level, that number is about 20 students per day, and at the high school level, about 45 students per day are affected.

The district administrator said, “As a school district, we are following the suggested Public Health COVID-19 guidelines. This requires anyone identified as a close contact of a positive case to stay home and quarantine for 14 days from the day of exposure.

“From a staff perspective, the process has been sustainable up to this week. We are experiencing some difficulty at RLHS at this time. We have a number of staff members who either need to be quarantined, or are awaiting test results. In a true team effort, all available staff members and administrators have stepped in to help assist where needed.  

“On a positive note, because of the professional development staff members participated in over the summer, many of the staff members have been able to meet with and teach their classes virtually while another staff member supervises students in the classroom at school. The curriculum does not need to be modified in these instances, which allows students to move forward with their learning.

Drost said, “This was a predicted issue which we continuously monitor. I understand it has not been a popular decision, but this is one of the reasons we have been restrictive on attendance at school sanctioned events. Appropriately staffing our schools is essential to maintaining an effective learning environment.

“If we ever approach the point where we are not able to appropriately staff a particular school, we may need to resort to a temporary distance learning model to get through quarantines and/or testing cycles. We would let those impacted know in advance if we are forced into this scenario.

Drost concluded, “If you have any questions, please visit the COVID-19 page on our website found here, reach out to me, or reach out to the staff at the school where your child attends.”

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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