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Superintendent Update for 10-18-2021

 

October 18, 2021 

Panther Families:

As we begin the new week, I wanted to send out another community update. 

Board of Education Vacancy Update:

  • As I mentioned in the last update, our Board of Education began a community-wide search for a qualified candidate to fill our vacant board seat. After the September 15th regular board meeting, interested district residents had an opportunity to apply for the vacancy, candidates were interviewed, and an appointment has now been made.  

  • I am pleased to announce that Mr. Gary (Dean) Busch has been appointed to fill the board seat left vacant by Mr. Doug Church. Dean’s appointment was approved at the October 11th regular board meeting and Mr. Busch will officially begin his board duties on Monday, November 8th.  

  • Board service is an excellent way for patrons to serve their communities and school districts at a local level. Mr. Busch’s appointed term will run from November 8th, 2021 - January 9th, 2023.  

Current District OR-1 COVID  Data: 

  • Updated 10.18.2021: 

    • In terms of COVID-19 data specifically related to our district, we have had 23 positive student cases (9 at the elementary and 14 at the high school) and 4 staff positive cases (2 at the elementary and 2 at the high school) in the district since the beginning of school on Wednesday, August 11th for a total of 28 total positive cases.

LLCHD Directed Health Measure (DHM) Update: 

  • The Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) DHM requiring mask wearing indoors in Lancaster County remains in effect until Thursday, October 28, 2021.  

  • Please stay tuned next week for updates on whether or not this DHM will be extended, revised, or eliminated.  

 Vaccination Information:

  • The City of Lincoln provides updates every weekday that include the latest data on COVID related information. These updates are all posted at covid19.lincoln.ne.gov and on the city’s home page at Lincoln.ne.gov

  • Listed below are some additional resources regarding vaccines: 

“Close Contacts” and Quarantine Communication Update: 

  • One of the things you may have recently noticed is the difference in the way that we are currently communicating with parents regarding new positive COVID cases in the district (especially at the high school). 

  • Because contact tracing through our local health departments has become extremely limited due to staffing shortages and other extenuating factors, we are now sending home communication to all parents if we have a new positive case in a school. 

  • This new method of communication is intended to be more efficient for our school staff because it enlists the help of parents and others to help clarify the context of each COVID positive situation and expedites the notification of possible “close contacts'' in a more efficient manner. 

  • Contact tracing is a bit easier at the elementary level due to the students generally having a smaller number of teachers that they see during the day. Contact tracing at the high school is more complex because of the changing class schedules and the myriad of extracurricular activities in which students are involved. 

  • We hope that this communication also provides another reminder for students and parents to stay vigilant in monitoring their own symptoms and taking extra precautions to mitigate additional spread of the virus or other diseases like the flu. 

  • Each time a student tests positive, the family is given instructions by our school nurse on the specifics for quarantine and how to review and notify possible “close contacts”.

  • In summary, these general notification letters encourage masking and self-monitoring for a designated amount of time from the onset of the notification of the new case. If your student needs to do something other than self monitor and mask, you will be contacted by our school nurse.

Household Members of a Positive COVID Case: 

  • When a student has a COVID positive person in their household, we are asking that any unvaccinated student quarantine at home for 10 days. This household quarantine for unvaccinated individuals allows our staff to manage and minimize the potential transmission of COVID at school. 

  • Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that families notify the school even when they have an adult in the household test positive for COVID. 

  • To help make this process as manageable as possible, students are assumed to be unvaccinated until proof of vaccination can be verified by our school nurse. 

  • Household members that are fully vaccinated may self monitor, mask, and remain at school.

  • All COVID positive individuals will need to isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.

End of First Quarter and No School next Friday, October 22nd:

  • This is just a reminder that the end of the first quarter was Friday, October 15th and grade reports will be sent home later this week. Please be looking for these grade reports!

  • This Friday, October 22nd is “fall break” and there is No School for students or staff that day!

 

Fall Activities Season Kudos!

  • Congratulations to all of our students, coaches, and activity sponsors for a great start to the fall activities season! Our teams and activity groups have all been outstanding and we are very proud of all of their achievements and accomplishments. 

  • Good luck to our teams and activity groups with games, events, and postseason action still ahead of them.

  • Special congratulations to our Girls Cross Country Team for being District Champions! 

  • Good luck to our boys and girls at the state cross country meet this Friday in Kearney!

  • Special thanks to all of our Booster Clubs and student support groups for their work in doing the critical “behind the scenes” work that makes our events and activities so special!

  • Our winter sports season begins on Monday, November 15th.  

Strategic Planning 

 Just a reminder of our Strategic Planning Community Engagement Meeting coming up on Sunday, November 7th 2021 at Palmyra High School. This 90 minute Community Engagement Meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. and the meeting is a wonderful opportunity for our patrons to meet others and share thoughts and ideas about how to best move our district forward in the coming years. 

  • All community members are invited to attend the community engagement meeting.

  • More information about this meeting and the Strategic Planning process will be available and posted on our website and social media channels throughout the month of October and early November. 

  • At the meeting, we will be asking patrons to provide feedback on the following questions: 

    • Identify the points of pride, accomplishments, and achievements of the school district.

    • Identify the future challenges that may impact the district and the community and how this may affect the school district.

    • Identify the knowledge and skills a student should possess as a graduate of the school district.

    • How can the board/district improve communication to inform patrons of the district’s needs and priorities?

  • If you are unable to attend the community engagement meeting on Sunday, November 7th, we will also provide other options for community input. Please look for these input opportunities on our district website and social media platforms in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your support for our students, our staff, and our district. 

Have a great rest of your week,

 

Mike