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Superintendent Update for 1-21-2022:

No School on 1-24-2022


Community Update: Friday, January 21st, 2022

Panther families,

Before we head into the weekend, I wanted to send another district update to all of you. 

This has been a very busy week for our students and staff here in the district as we continue to deal with a rising number of student illnesses and an increasing shortage of subs to fill various staff positions. We have amazing staff members in our district who work extremely hard for our students and families each and every day, but honestly we have been a bit “thin” lately with our staffing. This temporary shortage has had an impact on our ability to operate at our most effective capacity. 

In order to assist with this temporary staffing shortage, there will be “no school for students” on Monday, January 24th.  Please note: After school practices and activities at the high school will still take place on Monday, January 24th and school will resume as normal on Tuesday, January 25th.  Other after-school activities scheduled for Monday, January 24th at Bennet Elementary or Palmyra High School are still on as scheduled. Please contact your coach or sponsor if you have questions regarding these activities.

Our district staff will still report for duty on Monday to assist as needed with cleaning our buildings, adjusting lesson plans, grading student work, preparing work for absent students, and reorganizing classrooms. This extra day also provides any current staff member or student who may be out with an illness an additional day to recover without missing any more school. As we have stated before, these are unprecedented times and we will continue to stay flexible in responding to the challenges that continue to surface. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding and we remain grateful for your support. 

Current District OR-1 COVID Data: 

Listed directly below are last week’s COVID numbers. These numbers are included this week for comparison. This week’s updated numbers are listed below last week’s numbers.

Updated 1.14.2022

  • Listed below is the updated number of reported COVID positive cases so far for the second semester.

    • Total Covid Positive Cases: 25

      • 24 student cases: (15 at the elementary and 9 at the high school)

      • 1 staff case: Elementary

This Week’s District OR-1 COVID Data: 

Updated 1.21.2022

Listed below is the updated number of reported COVID positive cases so far for the second semester.

  • Total Covid Positive Cases: 56

    • 46 student cases: (31 at the elementary and 15 at the high school)

    • 10 staff cases: (3 at the high school and 7 at the elementary)

  • This past week we had 16 new cases at the elementary, 6 new cases at the high school, and 9 new staff cases in the district. 

  • Please note: This past week was the highest weekly total of reported COVID positive cases since the beginning of the school year (August 11th, 2021).This is more than double our reported total from last week. 

    • Please note: Our COVID positive numbers and overall illnesses at school may continue to climb as we work through this surge in Omicron variants in the next couple of weeks. We do anticipate these numbers to drop as we move into February and March, but only time will tell. 

    • In the meantime, we will continue to closely monitor our student and staff absences and positive cases and continue to make adjustments to our protocols as needed. 

    • We continue to urge staff and families to self-monitor for any possible symptoms and inform our school offices as soon as possible if your child will be absent. 

    • Vaccine Update: Booster shots are now available for children aged 12-15.  Click here to access the health department website which explains eligibility criteria and includes information on how to access a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.

Current COVID Operating Protocols: 

  • Please note: These protocols are in alignment with local health department guidelines for schools. 

    • Listed below are our updated self-screening protocols. Thank you for your assistance in helping us keep our students and staff from getting ill. These self-screening protocols are also posted on the doors to our buildings.

Self-Screening Protocols: 

  • If you answer “Yes” to any of the first three questions listed below, do not come to school or enter one of our buildings. If you answered “Yes” to the last question, please make sure you are following our “close contact” protocol listed below and wear a mask.

  • Do you have one of the following symptoms?

    • Fever of over 100.4 degrees

    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    • Onset of a dry cough

    • Loss of taste or smell

  • Have you had two (or more) of the following symptoms for longer than 24 hours?

    • Chills lasting for over two hours

    • Congestion and or runny nose

    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

    • Sore throat

    • Headache

    • Muscle Aches

  • Have you been directed to self-isolate or quarantine by a school official or health provider?

  • Have you had “close contact” with someone who has tested positive for COVID -19?

    • “Close contact” means that you have been around the positive individual (closer than six feet) for longer than 15 minutes within the same day without wearing a mask. 

Positive COVID-19 Diagnosis (Isolation): 

  • If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they should isolate at home for 5 days from the date the positive COVID-19 test sample was collected (if no symptoms were present at the time of the test). If an individual is unable to get a test right away, but has determined when their symptoms have started, they should begin their isolation period from the date of the onset of COVID symptoms. 

  • If an individual does not have symptoms or if symptoms are resolving (e.g., fever free for at least 24-hours), they can return to school on Day 6, but they will be required to wear a mask through Day 10.  This is a consistent standard which is used in schools across Nebraska.  

  • If a student or staff cannot wear a mask, they will be required to isolate for 10 days similar to the previous isolation criteria.  Please note: There are no mask exemptions. 


Positive COVID-19 Case Procedures:

  • If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they need to stay home for 5 days.  

    • The start of the isolation differs depending on if the person was symptomatic or asymptomatic. 

    • For a person who is asymptomatic, but tests positive, Day 0 is the date the sample was collected.

    • For a person with COVID symptoms, Day 0 is the day the first obvious symptom, such as fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain or diarrhea occurred.  

    • If an individual does not have symptoms or if symptoms are resolving (for example, they meet the school’s criteria for readmission), they can return to school on Day 6.  However, they must wear a mask through Day 10. 

    • COVID positive students returning on Day 6 without symptoms should increase social distances during lunch periods to reduce exposure to other students or staff.

    • Students that return on Day 6 without symptoms should not participate in choir or play band instruments that involve air flow.

    • Students returning on Day 6 without symptoms should not participate in physical education or athletics unless they can do so wearing a well-fitting mask which stays over the mouth and nose during such activity.

“Close Contact” Exposure (Quarantine): 

  • Students and staff will not be excluded from school for quarantine if they are deemed a “close contact” so long as they wear a mask for 10 consecutive days following exposure while at school or participating in school activities. 

  • Individuals are strongly recommended to be tested using a COVID-19 PCR test on Day 5 after the exposure.

  • More information about testing is listed here: https://app.lincoln.ne.gov/city/covid19/

  • Students or staff who have an on-going high-risk exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual who is unable to isolate (i.e., living in the same household with someone who is unable to isolate) will need to remain at home until the positive individual completes 5 days of isolation.  

  • If symptoms develop at any time during the 10 days following exposure, an individual will be excluded as if they were COVID-19 positive until they can present a negative COVID-19 PCR lab test result or otherwise complete an isolation period as described above.  

  • If a student or staff cannot wear a mask, they will be excluded from school for the duration of the 10-day quarantine period.  

Classroom Transmission:

  • If virus transmission is suspected within a specific classroom, required masking will be implemented for that classroom or activity area. This required masking would last for at least ten consecutive days to minimize or eliminate additional spread.

  • We will closely monitor additional cases and may implement other enhanced protocols if needed to reduce further transmission.

Current Job Openings

  • District OR-1 is still looking for some outstanding applicants to help us fill our current job openings in several areas. These openings are listed below. If you are interested in any of the following positions (or know someone who may want to join our team) please have them contact our school office at (402) 780-5327.

  • Elementary Secretary 

  • School Nurse

  • Substitute Bus Driver

  • Substitute Teacher

  • Substitute Paraprofessional 

Upcoming Community Engagement Meetings: These dates have been slightly adjusted since the last update. 

  • Wednesday, January 26th beginning @ 6:00 p.m.

    • District OR-1 will be hosting a Community Engagement meeting to discuss our recent Strategic Planning Process, District Enrollment Study, and School Operations. The meeting will be held at Bennet Elementary School in the media center. A building tour will follow the meeting for those who wish to see the facility. 

      • Please note that because Lancaster County remains in a mask mandate, masks will be required for those in attendance at the meeting. 

  • *Wednesday, February 9th beginning @ 6:00 p.m. *Please note that this meeting was originally scheduled for Wednesday, January 19th, but had to be rescheduled due to staff illness. 

  • District OR-1 will be hosting a Community Engagement meeting to discuss our recent Strategic Planning Process, District Enrollment Study, and School Operations. The meeting will be held at Palmyra High School in the media center. A building tour will follow the meeting for those who wish to see the facility.

Important Upcoming District Dates:

  • Monday, January 24th - No school for students: This is a professional development/workday for district staff. 

  • Tuesday, January 25th - School resumes. 

  • Wednesday, January 26th - Community Engagement Meeting at Bennet Elementary from 6-7 p.m. Please note that masks are required for this meeting in accordance with the current LLCHD mask mandate. 

  • Wednesday, February 2nd- No school for students / Staff In Service Day

  • Tuesday, February 8th - 1:30 p.m. early dismissal for high school students / 1:10 p.m. dismissal for elementary students - Parent Teacher Conferences from 2:00 - 8:00 p.m.

  • Friday, February 11th - No School for Staff or Students: Winter break 

  • Monday, February 14th - Board of Education Regular Meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Palmyra High School in the Media Center.  

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

Have a safe weekend, 


Go Panthers!