Parent Communication Regarding County Positive Numbers
As many of you may be aware, the Dubuque County 14 Day Positivity Rate for COVID-19 is approaching 15%. This average positivity rate is one of three variables that must be used in determining whether a school district can apply to move from face-to-face learning, to virtual learning, for up to 14 days. The other two factors include an absentee rate of over 10% and a recommendation from the county health department to move to remote learning.
We want to make sure it is understood that if the county rate goes over 15%, that does not mean we will automatically request a waiver from the state to move to virtual learning. As of this afternoon (Wednesday, September 23) our district has 18 positive cases (12 students and 6 staff) which equates to .48% of the 3750 students and staff tracked on the COVID-19 Dashboard. The district’s current daily student absentee rate due to illness is approximately 4 percent, which means a move to remote education would not currently be permitted by the state. We will continue to monitor the number of positive cases and exposures in each grade level and building to determine what steps we can take to help mitigate the spread of the virus (go to our District’s COVID-19 Dashboard to check our current positive cases http://www.wdbqschools.org/COVID-19Dashboard.aspx
.) In each case, we will consider all options within our control and only apply to close a building or the district if we hit all the metrics set by the state in addition to being confident that closing would be the best plan to mitigate the spread of the virus.
While we do need to get authorization from the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health to close a building or the district for 14 days, we don’t need their consent to temporarily move a specific grade level/classroom from face-to-face to virtual learning. If the spread is vastly impacting a certain grade or classroom, we will consider a short-term virtual move at that level before considering closing an entire building.
To date, the majority of the positive cases we have encountered have not come from school, rather they have been the result of non-school related events or interactions. We all need to continue to do our part to ensure that we keep our schools open and our extra-curricular activities going. Stay safe and reach out with any questions regarding the information provided in this email.
Rick Colpitts, Superintendent
Western Dubuque Community School District