COVID UPDATE 1.14.22
Masks will be required in all USD 320 classrooms next week.
Calling off School
It goes without saying, we are in the middle of a "viral blizzard." A popular question of late has been when will school be called off due to illness? School will be called off when we are not able to staff and safely supervise classrooms. Unfortunately, this is not a situation where closing school for a long weekend will clear the virus. This virus has a 14-day incubation period meaning people who have come into contact with a positive person will continue to get ill while the schools are closed. Also, as we have found out to be true, this virus is HIGHLY transmissible; if people do not stay home and out of contact with each other during the period of time that the schools were to be closed, the virus will continue to be transmitted.
We do have two areas where we have critically thin margins of personnel: food service and transportation.
As you were alerted last week, and being reminded here again, just a few bus drivers testing positive will have a significant effect on our ability to transports students to and from school. If it is not possible for us to run a route or routes we will do our best to inform you as soon as possible.
In regard to food service, we are prepared to move to sack lunches and more "cold food" which will require fewer people to prepare and serve. Also, volunteers may be requested to help with the preparation and serving.
All of our school personnel are going above and beyond as we deal with this rolling illness; their workloads have increased significantly; please be as understanding as possible as we work our way through this crisis.
As most of you know, there are new guidelines for shorter quarantine and isolation. We were provided the new information earlier this week and we have been working on a plan to implement them. We had delayed sending out this weekly update in hopes we could share the new guidelines and their implementation. However, they are still a work in progress as more information is coming to us. We plan to share the new regulations and implementation before the return to school on Tuesday, January 18.
The USD 320 Testing Center will be closed on Monday, January 17. Here is a summary of the testing done at our Center since our return from the winter break: Test Center
Our test center personnel have been on the run, literally, for the last two weeks; their work in helping us keep students and staff in school has been outstanding. Due to the large number of people being tested, we are simply unable to keep up with the sheer volume of testing that is being required. There will be changes in the testing program, and they will be shared when the new isolation and quarantine regulations are shared.
Please read this joint letter from the Wamego Hospital CEO & the Health Officer for Pottawattamie County. Letter
A link to the Covid criteria as of 1.13.22 is below:
Reminder: Masks will be required in USD 320 schools when students return from the Winter Break on January 4.
The USD 320 Test Center will be open Monday morning at 7:30 a.m.
CDC changes in the Length of Quarantines and Isolations: At this time, the newly announced CDC guidance does NOT apply to K-12 schools. It applies to Health Care workers and those in the “General Population.” It does not apply to other “congregate settings” the category in which K-12 schools are included. When the CDC guidance is applied to schools and adopted by the KDHE and County Health Department, USD 320 will adopt and follow the guidance. We have been holding off sending this summary of changes in hopes that the new guidance could be part of the changes in our Covid Mitigation procedures; however, as of this writing, the new quarantine/isolation guidance is not approved for schools.
Below are the changes in USD 320 covid mitigation procedures that will be implemented as of Monday, January 4.
Change #1: Family and Household Close Contacts: It had been the practice of USD 320 to allow the students in families and households where there is a positive case to attend school using the Test-to-Stay program.
Unfortunately, many of the close contact family & household members are testing positive before the end of the testing period. Therefore, with the start of the second semester, the Family & Household Quarantine model will be implemented. In this model a positive case in a family or household means the students or employees in the family or household will quarantine at home.
The students or employees will be eligible to return to school through the Test-to-Stay program when the positive case in their family or household has reached the end of the isolation period. However, according to the current guidance, if the close contact members are fully vaccinated they may go to school and work as long as they are symptom free.
Change #2: Contact Tracing: With the start of the second semester, the Wamego Schools will no longer be responsible for contact tracing close contact students in the Middle and High School. The current practice of notifying parents that a positive case has been identified in their children’s school will continue. Parents will be asked to monitor their child for the Covid-19 symptoms (see Fever Chart). If a student becomes ill they should stay home. The USD 320 Covid Testing Center is available to provide the necessary testing to determine if students or staff are ill with Covid.
As long as a middle school or high school student is symptom-free they will be able to attend school and take part in activities. Those who test positive will be quarantined based on the current CDC guidelines. The names of those testing positive will be shared with the Pottawatomie County Health Department as is required by KDHE mandate; however, whatever contact tracing is done after the school submits the names will be completed by the County Health Department or the KDHE.
Those who test positive will be asked to contact their friends, close classmates, and colleagues to let them know they have tested positive so they can get tested if they wish.
At this point contact tracing of students in grades PreK-5 will continue. The Test-to-Stay program is available to those who wish to take part in it rather than quarantining at home (unless the close contact is with a family or household member; see #1 above).
When determining whether or not a student should be sent home due to covid-similar symptoms, this chart will be utilized as guidance by the Wamego Schools.
CONGRATULATIONS WAMEGO FFA PUBLIC SPEAKING TEAM
On Wednesday January 12th the Wamego traveled to the Public Speaking Contest. The Public Speaking team for placing 2nd overall. During the Prepared Public Speaking Leadership Development Event (LDE), students write and deliver a time regulated speeches about a current agriculture-elated topic. In the Extemporaneous Public Speaking Leadership Development Event, it is designed to develop the ability of all FFA members to express themselves on a given subject without having prepared or rehearsed its content in advance. This event gives FFA members an opportunity to formulate their remarks for presentation in a very limited amount of time.
James DeRouchey placed 2nd in Extemporaneous, qualifying for state.
Jenna DeRouchey placed 3rd in the Senior division (as a junior) qualifying for state.
Rylie Meinhardt placed 1st in the sophomore division.
Isaac Wilber placed 6th in the sophomore division.
Nora Bosse placed 5th in the freshmen division.
Cheyenne Roudybush and Allie Blume placed in the top 20 junior division.
Cody Mayer and Dylan Zeit placed in the top 20 in the Creed division.
Great job everyone!
School Day Times for 2021-22
Central Elementary: 8:00 a.m. - 3:25 p.m. (Friday dismissal time: 2:10 p.m.)
West Elementary: 8:05 a.m. - 3:20 p.m. (Friday dismissal time: 2:10 p.m.
Middle School: 7:55 a.m. - 3:05 p.m. (Friday dismissal time: 2:20 p.m.)
High School: 7:55 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (Friday dismissal time: 2:10 p.m.)