Next week, May 10-14 is Support Staff Appreciation Week. I am not sure if everyone knows this but there are actually more support staff in our school district than teaching staff. What areas make up the support staff? Classroom associates, food service workers, custodians, office staff, bus drivers, maintenance workers, technology associates, and Panther Academy associates. That is such a broad range of positions so think about how much our support staff employees influence our student’s academic and emotional needs on a daily basis. To all of our support staff workers, I thank you for your flexibility and understanding as we changed our calendar and your days/hours multiple times to meet the needs of our ever-changing world. I thank you for reminding our students for the 10,000th time to keep their masks up. I thank you for bag lunches. I thank you for transporting our students and making their safety your priority. I thank you for all of the extra cleaning that we have needed during this school year. I thank you for coming to work every day, even when we were all trying to understand more about the risks of being around big groups of people. I thank you if you were quarantined from exposure at school and that caused you to miss family events. I thank you for always being excellent role models to our students. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do to make the Monticello Community School District a great place to be a student. If you know a support staff person, please take the time next week to say, “Thank You”. I am sure they will appreciate it.
Looking at our COVID numbers this week, we continue to have good news in our little corner of the planet. COVID seems to be busy in other places around the world right now but in Jones County, and more specifically in Monticello, we are in good shape. Jones County Public Health reports that the 14-day positivity rate for Jones County is at 5.0% this week. In Monticello, the 14-day positivity rate is at 3.0%. We have had only 2 positive COVID cases in the last 7 days and 5 positive COVID cases in the last 14 days in Monticello.
Our updated school numbers for this week are as follows:
1. We currently have 5 students and no staff in isolation (these people have tested positive for COVID or are showing COVID symptoms) and we have no students and no staff in quarantine (these people have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, not necessarily at school). That is less than 1% 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 80 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, and please keep in mind that we will not be offering online learning in the fall, only in-person learning.
It sounds like the Pfizer vaccine could be approved for children as young as 12 years old by next 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 Mother’s Day weekend!!!
Dr. Brian Jaeger