Good evening, Dixon Public Schools parents and guardians. We are at the midpoint of first quarter, and I wanted to provide you answers to some recent questions, guidance from the Lee County Health Department, and health data from the last two weeks. I will post our weekly District COVID-19 data every Sunday evening from this point forward on our District app. Please reach out if I can answer any questions regarding the data or health related questions you might have.
How many positive COVID cases do we have? The District has had two (2) positive cases since the first day of school on August 31st. Both cases were placed in isolation and not allowed to come to school until released by the Lee County Health Department. The last page of this update contains the data that I will be sharing each week.
Can you explain the details of the data the District is collecting? We are collecting data on all our staff members, and only those students who participate in In-Person/Blended Learning. We are not collecting COVID data on our students who are participating in Remote Learning unless they are participating in athletics and/or activities.
We are collecting data related to two specific areas:
- The number of students and staff on that day, who have tested positive for COVID. We calculate this number into an overall percentage for that specific day of those who are Quarantined/Isolated.
- The number of students and staff, on that day, who are excluded from attending school. This number is also calculated into a percentage, for that specific day.
These numbers represent only the students and staff that are in-person/onsite at schools or are participating in athletics and/or activities.
What is the difference between Isolation, Quarantine, and Excluded? The words Quarantine and/or Isolation are ONLY to be used in reference to a positive COVID case. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID, they are Isolated. If a student or staff member are exposed to someone directly who tested positive for COVID, they would be Quarantined. Isolate and Quarantine are ONLY used with positive COVID cases. If a student or staff member are exhibiting symptoms of COVID or have been in close contact with someone exhibiting symptoms (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) they are Excluded from school. The time frame for school exclusion will be conveyed to the parents/guardians when picking up their student(s). This terminology comes directly from Lee County Health Department (LCHD) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). We want to make sure we are using consistent language, so we are all conveying the same message.
Our local healthcare professionals provide us guidance as to when we should have students and staff members quarantine or isolate. These same healthcare professionals provide us the length and nature of a quarantine or isolation order.
Why are you collecting these data points? We are collecting these two data points to track local data in a timely manner. There are data from counties, regions, state, and national levels. All these data provide quality information, but we need to know timely data for Dixon Public Schools. This data will be used if we need to make decisions regarding In-person/Blended or moving to Remote Learning. These data are clearly reported, easy to understand, and tell us exactly what we need to know in a timely manner.
I want to ensure our families, students, and staff that it is safe to be at school, and we are taking every precaution to ensure the learning environment is safe and clean to work and learn in. The overall health and safety of our students, staff, and community is my number one priority. These data provide one set of evidence that it is safe to be at school. Working together with LCHD, we monitor numbers to ensure each building is safe, as well as the entire District.
Who do you share this data with? I will share it with parents, staff, and the LCHD every Sunday evening. There are no names or identifiable information associated with this data.
What other data to you monitor? I look weekly at our region and county data. The links below will take you to these sites.
Illinois Department of Public Health – Region 1 Metrics: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics?regionID=1
Illinois Department of Public Health – County/School Metrics: https://www.dph.illinois.gov/countyschool?county=Lee
Who would make the decision to have students and staff return to full-time remote learning? There are three ways students and staff would return to full-time remote learning:
- The President or Governor would make an Executive Order to close schools.
- A public health agency can make a declaration of a public health risk and close one or more of our schools.
- Our weekly data shows an increasingly unhealthy environment for students and staff. As Superintendent, I would recommend to the Board of Education that we need to temporarily close one or more of our school buildings.
- Is there a specific number in the weekly COVID data that would represent an unhealthy environment? In working with our local health experts, there is no exact number. We look at our local data points and work closely with the LCHD. Any positive COVID cases are looked at closely. We have had only two students and no staff test positive in the four (4) weeks that school has been in session. We monitor this data daily and will notify you if the numbers become concerning.
Who would make the decision to have students return to In-person/Blended learning for additional days? The Board of Education and I are currently discussing this possibility. Our goal is the ensure we can abide by guidelines when possible since the safety of our students and staff is our priority.
COVID Data for the Week of September 14-18, 2020:
Lee County School Metrics: Data from all schools in Lee County
Test Positivity Percentage: 6.9% - Moderate Range
New Cases per 100,000: 79 Cases per 100,000 – Moderate Range
New Cases: 27 Cases – Minimal Range
Youth Case Increase: 4 Youth Cases – Substantial Range
Lee County Metrics:
Test Positivity: 8 Days of Positivity Increases
Hospital Admissions: 3 Days of Hospital Admission Increases
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go Purple! Margo