What a cold week. I think we are all ready to get weeks like this behind us and move on to warmer days. So far, we have had three virtual snow days. When we looked at our student attendance for the virtual snow days we had around 70-80% attendance at the secondary level and around 80-90% attendance at the elementary level. On a normal school day our attendance is over 90% so please talk to your child(ren) about their attendance on these virtual snow days. Looking forward, Monday is supposed to be incredibly cold. We will be waiting until Sunday night to make a call for Monday but based on the current forecast, Monday may be a virtual learning day. So, I would suggest making a plan in case we go in that direction.
I have been getting a lot of questions since the vaccine has come out to the staff about when everyone can ditch masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing, etc. I think we all want that, however, that will be something that happens slow and steady. Please remember that 80% of the people that come to our schools everyday are students, and I have only 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?” We will continue to follow the guidance of public health and at the same time we will continue to move back to “more normal” when we can. Just think about how far we have progressed safely from the start of the school year. 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, HS/MS Band and Choir, and Graduation may look like in the upcoming months. I thank you for your continued patience and support as we navigate through all of this.
Looking at our numbers this week we have continued to drop in all the right places. Jones County has a 14-day positivity rate of 8.1%. In Monticello, the 14-day positivity rate is 6.2%. We have had 5 positive COVID cases in the last 7 days in Monticello. Let’s keep moving forward!!!
Our updated numbers for this week are as follows:
1. We currently have approximately 5 students and 1 staff in isolation (these people have tested positive for COVID or are showing COVID symptoms) and approximately 4 students and 0 staff in quarantine (these people have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, not necessarily at school). That is approximately 1% of our student body and less than 1% of our staff that is out for COVID-19 related reasons. These numbers all dropped this week.
2. We still have many students participating in online learning. As of today, we have approximately 108 prek-12 students participating in full online learning or hybrid online learning. That is approximately 11% of our student body taking one or more online courses. The number of online learners has dropped this week.
That is it for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and please be safe!
Dr. Brian Jaeger, Superintendent