Bluford schools have now been in session for five weeks, with 24 days of student attendance. This message is to share some insight and information on how we are managing the current COVID pandemic. The vast majority of situations that have been dealt with pertain to “symptomatic” individuals (new onset of moderate to severe headache, shortness of breath, new cough, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain from unknown cause, new congestion/runny nose, new loss of sense of taste or smell, nausea, fatigue from unknown cause, muscle or body aches, revised 9.10.20). Prior to this week anytime a student or staff member presented one of these symptoms, they had to be excluded from attendance until we received verification of a negative COVID test, an alternative diagnosis, or 10 days had passed. IDPH guidance was updated last Friday to allow school nurses to take exposure risk into consideration when a symptom is present. This week, the district has put the new guidance into practice and it is working very well.
To date, faculty and staff have only had to miss 0.7% of available days (12 out of 1,664 work days… 64 employees times 26 staff work days) due to anything COVID related. The majority of those days were because a staff member had a “symptomatic” individual in their household. At this time, the district has only had one positive case. For safety and compliance with IDPH guidelines we have had the following numbers of students excluded from attendance until local health department clearance was received.
42 students excluded from attendance with “symptoms”
10 students excluded from attendance with symptomatic siblings
11 students excluded from attendance due to potential close contact at school
5 students excluded from attendance because of close contact at home
Overall, our attendance rate for the grade school is at 94.6%, which is within the normal range. Our attendance rate for the high school is 87.1%, which is a little lower than normal, but this would be because the high school has more moving parts than the elementary school which leads to more potential attendance exclusions.
Before the school year began the use of face coverings for kids brought anxiety to a lot of people, me included. However, our experience has been far from what we expected. The students have been fabulous with wearing them. Teachers give frequent breaks and hold class outside often. We have not had problems with students complying with the mask mandate bestowed upon us.
Guidance and regulations have been evolving every couple of weeks. As that continues, we will stay on top of changes and communicate with the community as our plan evolves with changes in state directives and guidelines. In addition to that, we remain committed to fully communicating with any individuals who have potentially been in contact with a suspected COVID case.