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Three positive cases

SCSD adds COVID dashboard to website

SOLON– So far, so good for the young but already tumultuous school year.
Solon Community School District (SCSD) classes began Monday, Aug. 31, and as of Friday, Sept. 11, three positive cases among students were reported.
The district placed a COVID-19 dashboard on its website under the “District Return to Learn” menu, tracking positive tests for students and staff, as well as absenteeism and quarantine numbers.
“We've had three positive tests to begin the year, but by redesigning the school day, we've limited our quarantine number to 24 students,” noted SCSD Superintendent Davis Eidahl last week. “The mitigation procedures in place at each school are designed to limit student interactions by grouping students in classes and through transitions throughout the day.”
As of Monday, Sept. 14, the number of quarantined students had increased to 31. No positive staff cases have been reported.
The district has a strong partnership with Johnson County Public Health, he said, and continues to lean on its expertise, as well as that of school nurses, with mitigation.
“Our Return To Learn Plan recognized and included the need to support students in 14-day quarantines, Eidahl explained. “Our staff received additional professional development focused on technology and our adopted online platforms to minimize any educational disruption for students home on quarantine. This is all new so we expect to improve our support as the year progresses.”
Eidahl said the district continues to assess mitigation procedures and make necessary adjustments to reduce and limit possible exposures.
Onsite learning, including bus routes, has gone very well, he said.
“We continue to work through issues with our home online learning and are grateful to the many parents providing us feedback as we work through these concerns together,” he added.
All onsite students and staff wear a face covering throughout the day, he said, expressing the district’s appreciation for the cooperation of parents and students.
“Masks are worn throughout the day and our students have responded very well to wearing them,” he stated by email.
SCSD Board President Tim Brown rode two of the district’s bus routes over the opening weeks.
“I have been impressed that almost all of our students have their masks on when the bus arrives, and if they don't, they have it ready to put on as they board,” he said. “Having the disposable masks on the bus has helped with the few students who have forgotten theirs that day.”
He added students appeared excited for their trip to school.
Parent Sarah Clark concurred, noting her children were “ecstatic.”
“This week, I have had phone conversations and emails sent to me from all three of my kids’ teachers regarding how the classroom is running and how the kids are adjusting,” she reported. “This has increased my comfort level with how the district is handling in-person learning.”
Clark also applauded the district’s efforts communicating mitigation procedures and policies through emails, parent webinars and the district website.
Parent Jill Owens felt the district developed new policies and procedures with students’ best interests in mind.
“At first, I was very nervous about all the new rules and regulations that the district has put in place,” Owens noted. “I thought my kids would feel uncomfortable or upset but they have really adapted. They are very happy to be learning in-person, with their friends, and being on a schedule has completely changed their attitudes for the better.”
While she and her children might not like all of the new policies put into place, Owens said the rules need to be followed to keep kids in the classroom.
“2020 has and will continue to be an exercise in patience, adaptability and understanding,” she said in an email.
Brown said he was thankful for the support staff received from parents and the community as the district transitioned to new ways of delivering education.
“This is new to all of us and I am particularly appreciative to those who have reached out with the things with which they have struggled and those who have offered suggestions on ways to improve our methods,” he stated. “We all share the goal of having our students maximize their learning in a safe and supportive environment. I am confident that we as a community can continue to come together to support each other for the benefit of our students.”
He also thanked staff for working hard to make the year possible, and nurses Kris Elijah and Amy Link for their work on mitigation efforts “to help keep everyone safe.”