October 22, 2020
I apologize for the late nature of this communication, but I thought it was important to provide you with another update regarding COVID-19. On or about 7:00 pm on Thursday evening, October 22, 2020, the District was advised that we should consider taking action to mitigate a possible spread of the virus because an elementary student at Ben Franklin has tested positive for COVID-19. It is our understanding that this case is related to the daycare incident I previously wrote to you about. The student was not in school on Thursday.
As you know, the Department of Health has the authority and final determination to quarantine students, and we are awaiting a final determination from the DOH. However, they recommended that the District would be best served to ask the families of a particular class to stay home on Friday, October 23rd as a preventative measure. The families of the students who we have asked to stay home have been contacted by the School Health Services. The DOH is currently working with the school nurse and administration throughout this process. Once the DOH confirms their recommendations, we will assist the DOH in contacting the impacted families with their final decision.
As you are aware, this is the second confirmed case at Ben Franklin in a two week period. I previously wrote to you about two siblings who were presumed positive and this is the second case. The siblings are being counted as 1 case by the DOH as they live together and their parent(s) tested positive for COVID. I have made the decision to stay open based on the following rationale:
- We still have not received a final determination from the DOH as to how we should proceed.
- The cases are not related, meaning the students are not in the same grade level and/or classroom.
- This decision still falls within the guidelines of our IASD Safety Plan where we indicated a range of 2-4 cases could result in a 3-7 day closure.
- This scenario is reflective of the benefits of the 6ft social distancing guidelines the Board of Directors has implemented.
- All students who we know may have been exposed are being asked to stay home tomorrow, and the period between Friday and Monday will give us the time to deep clean the affected classroom.
Tonight as well as over the weekend, we will continue with our deep cleaning procedures in our buildings to make sure the impacted classroom(s) are disinfected accordingly. I realize that this is the third message today that I have sent you, but my goal is to keep you aware of this ever-changing situation we are dealing with and to inform you of the rationale behind the decisions I have made. Respectfully, the decision to go with the 6ft social distancing in our elementary classrooms allows us great flexibility to remain open while adhering to our safety plan. If we were fully opened, we would have to possibly close Ben Franklin Elementary for 3-7 days. I realize that these are difficult times with the increased pressures the pandemic causes, and there are no guaranteed right or wrong answers at times due to the varying beliefs, attitudes, and opinions on the matter. On behalf of the entire District, please know we are doing all we can to remain open to provide educational programming to our students with safety at the forefront of our decision-making.
Our School Health Services staff has done an amazing job being proactive in monitoring for symptoms. We have continued to send students home for exhibiting COVID symptoms out of an abundance of care and caution. I fully support the school nurses taking an abundance of care in our daily operations and recognize the angst this can cause our families.
Mr. Michael J. Vuckovich