Next week, May 3-7, is Teacher Appreciation Week. I have always known that we have incredible classroom teachers and school counselors. Seeing them work with our students is like watching an orchestra playing together to make beautiful music. After the year we have had I am even more amazed with their ability to be dynamic, connect with students, and be everything to everyone. How can a person do more than that? Imagine getting up and coming to work every day with students in-person and online. Finding out several students in their class(es) are quarantined unexpectedly. Constantly giving the reminder to wear your mask appropriately. Not eating lunch with other adults to avoid exposure. Attending zoom meeting after zoom meeting instead of in-person meetings. Having more struggling learners than ever before and figuring out how to meet the needs of each of those learners in-person and online. It is an incredibly hard year to be a classroom teacher or school counselor. Honestly, I have dedicated my life to education and really enjoy this profession, however, if I was a first-year teacher this year, I would think twice about coming back for a second year. So I ask you to recognize these remarkable individuals and say thank you with a note, an email, a phone call, or in-person for an incredible job this year. To all those teachers who have made a difference in the lives of my kids and all of the students in Monticello this year…I see you…I salute you…I appreciate you…I thank you!!!
Looking at our COVID numbers this week, we are still in a good place. Jones County Public Health reports that the 14-day positivity rate for Jones County is at 4.2% this week. In Monticello, the 14-day positivity rate is at 4.9%. We have had 6 positive COVID cases in the last 7 days in Monticello. These numbers are slightly up but still pretty good. One trend in Jones County is that we are seeing more tweens and teens with positive COVID tests. In fact, at school, we had no cases for about two months and within the last few weeks, we have had COVID positive students at every level. So watch for symptoms right now with your child(ren) and be responsive to those symptoms. Do not send your child(ren) to school if they are sick.
Our updated school numbers for this week are as follows:
1. We currently have 6 students and no staff in isolation (these people have tested positive for COVID or are showing COVID symptoms) and we have 9 students and no staff in quarantine (these people have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, not necessarily at school). That is less than 2% of our student body and no staff that is out for COVID-19 related reasons.
2. We still have several students participating in online learning. As of today, we have approximately 81 prek-12 students participating in full online learning or hybrid online learning. That is approximately 8% of our student body taking one or more online courses. The number of online learners has dropped slightly this week. If you are considering coming back to in-person learning, please contact your principal.
That is it for this week. If you are still looking to be vaccinated call 211 and they can help you find a vaccination site near you. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!
Dr. Brian Jaeger, Superintendent