Harlan Ptomey

Superintendent Press Release September 10, 2021

Dear Cedar Bluffs Families,

I have been so impressed with the cooperation and care shown by all of our families to help mitigate all illnesses, not just COVID. If a student doesn’t feel well, parents are keeping them home and if they feel ill but still good enough to come to school, I have seen many students wearing masks to help protect one another. I would estimate mask wearing of staff and students has risen to about 20% this week. Talking to some of the students that have worn their mask, they said, “I just didn’t feel great today, so I wore it just in case”. This type of caring for one another is something parents should feel great pride in. I am so proud of our students and staff for thinking of others. I also know we have seen an uptick in our 12 and older students leaving school to get their COVID vaccination over the past two weeks. As a school we continue to excuse all absences associated with any COVID related activity.

I do worry for my very good friend whose wife works in a hospital nearby as she talked about how burned out she and her colleagues are getting. She told me that just this week, twelve COVID positive patients were transferred to the ICU where she works from another hospital that was too full. One of the patients was vaccinated, in his 80’s and had other underlying health conditions; but the other eleven where unvaccinated, young and had previously been healthy. I have COVID fatigue and I am tired of wearing a mask when I go to crowded spaces but I can’t image what our health care workers have had to deal with. I thank everyone in this line of work for all they have done!

You have begun to see more and more businesses mandating vaccine requirements as part of employment and I anticipate that will continue now that the FDA has given full approval of the Pfizer vaccine. Furthermore, I noticed the State of New York was the first to mandate that all teachers in that State must be vaccinated. Some colleges have also required COVID vaccinations for students and staff as part of their admissions requirements. I know in Nebraska that Doane College, Creighton University and Nebraska Wesleyan all require vaccinations from COVID to attend. Just this week the first two K-12 public schools in California have mandated the COVID vaccine as part of their required vaccinations for attendance. Just like measles, mumps, rubella are required for attendance; now too will COIVD be required for Los Angles Public Schools and Culver City Schools in California. Having served as a history teacher before becoming an administrator I remind my friends that it was in 1809 that the United States first mandated vaccines, in that case for smallpox. Later in 1922 the US Supreme Court upheld childhood mandates in schools. More recently, our current Supreme Court agreed with this ruling as they declined to hear a challenge from a student who was suing the University of Indiana, who currently requires the COVID vaccination for attendance. School vaccine mandates originate at the Local or State Legislation, not Federal and I could see many States enacting legislation to include COVID as one of the many childhood vaccinations, once a vaccine has been fully approved for children since it is something we will need to learn to live with for the foreseeable future.

2021 TOTAL POSITIVE: 11-Students, 5-Parent(s)/Family Members, 0-Staff

THIS WEEK POSITIVE: 1-Students, 1-Parent(s)/Family Members, 0-Staff CURRENT QUARANTINE: 2

This week we had one reported positive case in a student and one family member from the same household that tested positive for COVID. From this household, two other students are in quarantine. Again, we have had no staff report a positive test for COVID and with over 80% fully vaccinated; I hope we continue to see no breakthrough cases nor cases from the remaining unvaccinated. The 7-day rolling average for absences because of all illnesses is at 10.43 absent daily which represents just 2.21% of our student population. Thank you again for doing everything you can to help keep our school open and our kids safe from illnesses.