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Covid-19 is hitting the Clark County R-1 school district. Hard.
“We thought we’d get here,” said Superintendent Dr. Ritchie Kracht.
On Wednesday, Kracht called an emergency meeting of the CCR-1 school board to discuss what steps to take.
As of 5:30pm Wednesday evening, the district had 170 students and 11 staff members in quarantine. Nine students had tested positive for Covid-19, as had three staff members.
“We have very few left in one grade at the High School,” added Kracht.
“Our recommendation is that we go to Orange for High School and Middle School, and leave the elementary buildings at green,” Kracht told board members. Orange designates every-other-day attendance at school, with work being sent home. Green is a normal school day.
“Our concern is the hardship it would put on families if we tried to have elementary students go every-other-day,” Kracht said. Childcare is not readily available.
Elementary school administrators agreed.
“We think it’s best for that age group to stay in school,” said Running Fox principal Katrina Nixon. “Our concern is daycare. Someone is going to have those kids.”
If those students are teachers’ kids, teachers are entitled coronavirus leave under federal guidelines.
“We don’t have substitute teachers,” added Nixon.
Black Hawk principal Betsy Parrish stated that CDC guidelines had changed, and that the new guidelines count exposure as 15 minutes of contact in a 24-hour period, instead of 15 continuous minutes.
Indian Pride Learning Center principal Megan Wendling agreed that it would be best for her students to stay on a regular schedule.
Referring to her special education students, Wendling said, “My kids need consistency and to have their routines. It would be like starting over every day if we missed a day.”
Wendling also noted that this spike in quaratines came five days after trick or treat night.
The elementary schools will also increase mask usage.
“If we don’t do something, there won’t be anyone in the buildings,” Kracht warned.
Under level Orange, student’s whose parent’s last name starts with the letters A-K will attend one day, and L-Z the next.
“Every other day will be a lot more effective. It’s better than not being here. It’s not great, but it’s better than the alternatives,” Kracht added.
The board voted to approve the Orange, every-other-day schedule for High School and Middle School, starting Friday.
“We’ll go through Thanksgiving,” Kracht said. “And evaluate where we’re at and where the county is at then.”
The school intends to send home meals for the students that will be staying home. Extracurricular activities will still go on as planned, and parents will make the decision whether or not their students should participate.
On Friday, Kracht reported that the first day of every-other-day attendance went well.