District works to adapt to changing Covid situations

Photo by Larry Caruso

PAULA NEUMAN

School district officials face an ever-changing situation with the Covid-19 pandemic, but right now, most Wyandotte students are back in classrooms.

Wilson Middle School and the district’s centers and elementary schools reopened for in-person learning Oct. 12, and Roosevelt High School students went back Oct. 19. Students and staff are wearing masks and adhering to other safety precautions, and about a third of district students continue to learn from home online by choice or because they’re quarantined.

“It was an utter joy to see students wearing masks, ready to come to school, excited to come to school,” district Supt. Catherine Cost told Board of Education members on Oct. 13. “We’re on our way and it felt good.”

She said with a smile that this year not a single kindergarten student cried on the first day of in-person class, noting that those children have been taught online since the school year began, and so were familiar with their teachers after interacting with them each day via computer.

But the back-to-school situation is fluid. If a school is concerned about an outbreak of positive Covid cases, instruction will switch back to remote learning for a time. The district will keep parents informed.

Roosevelt’s start was pushed back a week after three football players and two teachers tested positive for the virus. Since that time, the case numbers increased and then decreased.

The district follows Wayne County Health Department guidelines and performs contact tracing.

On each school’s website is a link to a Covid-19 “Dashboard” that shows the number of students and staff members with confirmed positive Covid cases and the number in quarantine due to close proximity to someone with the virus. The dashboard shows the current numbers on the left and cumulative (the total over time) numbers on the right.

As of Oct. 20, Roosevelt showed one current confirmed case in students and none in staff members, plus no students and one staff member in quarantine due to possible exposure.

Those numbers come from the health department and only include cases confirmed by PCR (polymerise chain reaction) results — those attained by a swab of the back of the throat and nasal passages — and not results attained by nasal swab antigen “rapid tests.” District officials, however, are paying attention to rapid test results when they learn about them, and acting accordingly, Cost said.

The state releases every Monday a list of schools with cases, and that data is more out-of-date than the Dashboard information from the health department, she said.

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