My wife and I took our kids to Disneyland in California several years ago when the kids were all very little. We drove from Arizona where we lived and when we were within 10 miles the car was buzzing. The kids were singing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song and my wife and I were laughing and then we came to a complete stop on the interstate. An RV was on fire ahead. We could see the smoke billowing off of it as it sat in the left lane about a quarter mile ahead. Everyone got out ok but it was really burning and by the time the fire department got there it had almost burned out. We were back far enough to be safe in case the gas tank exploded, it never did. We sat for several hours until they cleaned it all up as there were so many miles of cars stopped that redirecting traffic on to the side streets was not an option. It was 115 degrees outside; my car was dangerously close to overheating but we needed the air conditioning on for the girls because it was so hot. I actually considered about 30 minutes into this mess, before the fire department or police arrived, to try and go around it on the shoulder. After my wife yelled at me for that idea and said, “we didn’t come all this way to get blown up driving by this accident”, we stayed put. When it was safe and the police allowed us to go around, we missed a half a day at Disneyland, we were all hungry, and our group mood had changed to grumpy.
I guess when I look back on that day I am really just happy that all of us made it through safely. With our world in the state that it is in, I feel a lot like I did sitting on that interstate years ago. One year ago, COVID came into our lives and it has become the guest that wouldn’t leave. I am ready for it to be gone, I am ready to move forward, I am ready to make it to Disneyland, but patience will get us there safely. We are moving ahead in getting the vaccine, opening up events a little more, and spring is here so we can be outside more. I am asking you to be patient and remember to be safe over spring break. I know many of you are going places over the break but remember to be cautious wherever you go, because we do not want to slow our roll forward in the Monticello community. I guess what I am asking you is to show the same patience I showed in my car years ago so we can all get to our destination safely and as quickly as possible.
Looking at our COVID numbers this week, we are still in a very good place. Jones County Public Health reports that the 14-day positivity rate for Jones County is at 3.7% this week. In Monticello, the 14-day positivity rate has dropped to 1.2%. We have had 2 positive COVID cases in the last 7 days in Monticello.
Our updated school numbers for this week are as follows:
1. We currently have 18 students and one staff in isolation (these people have tested positive for COVID or are showing COVID symptoms) and approximately one student and two staff in quarantine (these people have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, not necessarily at school). That is approximately 2% of our student body and less than 1% of our staff that is out for COVID-19 related reasons. Those numbers are still very good!!!
2. We still have several students participating in online learning. As of today, we have approximately 94 PreK-12 students participating in full online learning or hybrid online learning. That is approximately 9% of our student body taking one or more online courses. The number of online learners has dropped again this week. If you are considering coming back to in-person learning, please contact your principal.
That is it for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, an enjoyable Spring Break, and please continue to be safe!!!
Dr. Brian Jaeger, Superintendent