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SCSD confident measures are working

Quarantine numbers on the rise

SOLON– The Solon Community School District (SCSD) continues to battle to keep its doors open and its students learning.
An increase in the number of student and staff quarantined prompted the district to post two notices from the administrative team to the community on its website Nov. 9 and Nov. 11.
The COVID-19 dashboard on the school website reported 146 students and eight staff quarantined Nov. 13, with three positive student cases.
“We anticipate this number will continue to increase over the next few weeks; however, we are determined to prevent the spread by being overly cautious through contact tracing methods and quarantining students and staff,” wrote the administrative team.
The open letter highlighted the SCSD COVID-19 Dashboard, located on the district website under the “Return To Learn” link, which provides absenteeism, quarantine and positive test information updated daily; as well as ongoing mitigation efforts.
“We have strong mitigation and contact tracing practices in place that continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools,” noted SCSD Superintendent Davis Eidahl. “The percent of our students and staff absent is less than 3.5 percent, which is remarkable in any year. The number of students quarantined has increased, but that is a result of very thorough contact tracing and being extremely cautious with preventing exposure.”
That’s led to the prevention of school wide spread, but many of the positive cases and quarantine numbers are related to social activities outside of the school day and school activities, according to the district.
The school system continued to encourage students and families to engage in the mitigation practices recommended by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) outside of the school day.
The district also announced guidelines in relation to restrictions announced by Gov. Kim Reynolds Nov. 11.
Spectators at home athletic events will be limited to no more than two spectators per athlete or participant, and all spectators will be required to wear masks and social distance from others in attendance.
Because of the limited attendance, the SCSD will livestream video for events on its website: www.solon.k12.ia.us/o/solon-csd/page/athletics-live-stream--2.
School facilities remain closed for outside groups and youth teams through at least Dec. 1.
All winter sports were issued new student and coach safety guidelines, according to district administration. The new guidelines emphasize the use of masks during practices, as well as spacing or grouping students and athletes when possible.
“Many of the guidelines were in place for summer and fall sports, which proved to be very successful,” the administrative team wrote. “Winter sports add more challenges so additional measures have been put in place to emphasize the safety of our student-athletes and coaches. The Iowa High School Athletic Association also put guidelines out to all schools. These guidelines will be implemented with integrity.”
SCSD continues to make decisions based on data in consultation with the IDPH and Johnson County Public Health, and is prepared to close a grade level, a grade span or even a school to prevent spread, the team noted.
“We don’t ever anticipate a full district closure, but are prepared for extreme situations if necessary,” the communication stated.
A hybrid model is not a viable option, the team said, due to inconsistent opportunities to engage students regularly, dual planning and preparing for teachers, and the challenges the model could place on working parents.
“We are confident that our mitigation measures will continue to protect students and staff from future spread, keeping everyone safe and our schools open without disruption,” Eidahl said in an email. “We will continue to monitor closely positive cases and absenteeism within our schools as we safely navigate through the increase across Iowa.”

SCSD sample mitigation efforts:
• All students and staff are masked throughout the day.
• Students are grouped in cohorts.
• Nurses partner with JCPH and do all contact tracing.
• The room or rooms impacted by a positive case are identified and immediately disinfected with an electrostatic sprayer and then cleaned again at the end of the school day with all other rooms.
• All K-8 students eat lunch in small cohorts (same small group of students daily). Lunch is when students remove masks so we limit student interactions. Mitigation practices reduce and in some cases, eliminate large group interactions.
• High school students have the option to leave at lunch or social distance with the use of the gym during the lunch block.
• Numerous disinfectant practices remain in place such as hand sanitizer stations throughout schools, alcohol wipes for keyboards after every use, masks, spacing, cohorts, electrostatic sprayers, staggered transitions.