Dear Parents, Guardians and Staff,
I am sure you have seen the letter released in cooperation with ESU2 schools and Three Rivers Health yesterday. If not, here is a link to that letter: https://www.thebestmix1055.com/2020/11/04/area-schools-give-protocol-update-regarding-covid-19-risk-dial-rise/
Cedar Bluffs Public School released our “COVID Back to School Guide” in the summer of 2020 after working on it from March through June with support of the Nebraska Department of Education, Three Rivers Health and the CDC. Since that time, we have needed to make small changes and adjustments as we and the health officials have learned more about this virus. Instead of re-writing our entire plans every time we make an adjustment, I have tried to communicate changes as they occur and be transparent about what was going on in our school.
Just to reiterate some of the more important changes: We have moved to face coverings in all COVID risk levels in all areas of our building and school grounds if you cannot social distance. We have shifted students to eating in classrooms and doing grab and go breakfast instead of having large groups eat together in our cafeteria and we have changed our thoughts on utilizing the “essential personnel” DHM provided by the Governor. We are still having our staff members quarantine if the positive individual lives in their home but if they had a “close contact” with a positive person and they have gotten a “negative” test result we have allowed them to come back to work with strict protocols. This has allowed us to continue “in person” education since substitute staff are extremely hard to find. Now, as a group of ESU2 schools we are making a significant change to our Back to School Guide.
In April of 2020 we dismissed school to help slow the spread of the virus and we intended that if the COVID risk dial had gotten to RED this year we again would go to either a “hybrid” model or go fully remote. What we have learned since April is the full remote for extended periods of time is detrimental to the health and well-being of our students. As you saw from the release above, Three Rivers Health states their data has shown little to no “in school” spread and almost all cases reported have been from outside activities or events. All Schools have the same protocols in place to keep our kids safe but when they leave our school, students do not always continue to follow those safety protocols and is the leading cause of cases according to Three Rivers Health. So, Three Rivers Health is encouraging all schools to stay “in person” to educate as long as our environment continues to be safe. This is not to say that Cedar Bluffs may go to our “hybrid” model or remote learning for short periods of time. Other recommendations instead of full remote learning includes suspending a class, grade or building level for a short time to allow for deep cleaning or if we don’t have enough staff to adequately operate our school. However, all of these cancellations or closure should be for a short time with the intention of going back to “in person” education as soon as safe to do so.
Furthermore, the Commissioner of Education recognizes that schools may need to take more breaks and that schools need more substitute staff members, so he has authorized two executive orders. One order allows local substitutes to work more days then previously allowed, and a second order allows schools to reduce their student contact days as needed.
So in short, we intend to stay “in person” to educate even through the Red COVID risk dial. As we have stated from the beginning, each parent may make their own determination if they choose to do “in person” or remote and we will continue to work as hard as we can to provide a quality education to all students at Cedar Bluffs Public School. However, also please understand that Cedar Bluffs Public School may cancel school days or individual grades depending upon the needs of the staff and/or the level of the COVID risk dial. #WildcatPride