I hope you have all had a wonderful week. This will be my last COVID-19 update letter for the 2020-2021 school year. I hope these letters have been helpful this school year to better understand our school COVID-19 situation on a weekly basis. Looking back we had a period of unknown, followed by a period of outbreak, followed by a period of continuous improvement and vaccination. Seems like we have covered all the bases.
In the last week, the guidance we have been following from the Iowa Department of Public Health was changed. We adjusted to the new guidance, as you know, and released updated information last Saturday. As a result of these changes, masks are now optional for the remainder of the school year at school, on the bus, and for any school related activities. Then the state legislature and Governor amended the law on Wednesday night regarding mask requirements in schools. The changes in the law did not cause us to make any additional adjustments.
It has been a year of unexpected challenges. We have all adjusted our lives to be safe and make the best of a difficult situation. Moving forward, we need to focus on the future and the best of all of us. We ALL need a positive mindset, because when we focus on the positive we tend to see the positives all around us. If we focus on the negative we tend to see the negatives all around us. Our mindset is something we can control, so I challenge each of you to have a positive mindset going into the 2021-2022 school year. We have a lot of great things to look forward to in our schools over the next few years, but we need everyone in the boat rowing in the same direction. Going forward let the schools unite us and not divide us.
Looking at our COVID-19 numbers this week, we have some very good numbers in our area. Jones County Public Health reports that the 14-day positivity rate for Jones County is at 4.8% this week. In Monticello, the 14-day positivity rate is at 0.8%. We have had one positive COVID-19 case in the last 7 days and only one positive COVID-19 case in the last 14 days in Monticello. These numbers are pretty good and continue to be low.
Our updated school numbers for this week are as follows:
1. We currently have two students and one staff in isolation (these people have tested positive for COVID-19 or are showing COVID-19 symptoms) and we have no students and one staff in quarantine (these people have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, not necessarily at school). That is less than 1% of our students and staff out for COVID-19 related reasons.
2. We still have some students participating in online learning. As of today, we have approximately 75 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.
We will be hosting a Pfizer vaccination clinic tomorrow at Monticello High School. Please refer to the previous emails with that information if you are interested. The clinic will be for anyone who has not received the vaccine that is 12 and up. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!!!
Dr. Brian Jaeger, Superintendent