Hello, As we near the end of our second week back from Christmas break I wanted to update everyone on the status of the district in regards to COVID-19. There has been a slight uptick in COVID cases beginning in the middle of this week. The primary exposure to these cases is still coming from outside of the school buildings and based on the information shared with the district the exposures are happening at home. In all of our buildings and classrooms we continue to enforce masking, social distancing and other safety protocols just was we always have. I would continue to urge everyone to follow those same protocols when they are not at school so that we can all do our best to keep ourselves and our families safe. The current numbers of COVID-19 cases and people in quarantine are as follows: 3 staff in quarantine, 2 staff COVID positive, 40 students in quarantine, 8 students COVID positive. I have attached a graph to this message that tracks the rates of COVID and quarantines in the district from the start of the school year for your reference. As you will see we have gone through several peaks and valleys this year with the week of 11/23 being the highest for quarantines. This week marks the highest number of positive student cases so far this year. Reminder that there is no school on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Enjoy the long weekend. Stay safe and Go Bulldogs!
Hello, We have received several calls at the Board Office from parents who are concerned that the recent change to the contact tracing process will now somehow make it unsafe for students to be in the classroom. We can certainly appreciate that parents are concerned for the safety of their students, but this new policy does not increase the risk to students and staff beyond the risks that previously existed prior to the change. This change in procedure was arrived at by the Ohio Department of Health after a careful study of data from a variety of schools around the state. What that data showed is that in classrooms where masking protocols are being followed students and staff are safe. Swanton’s own internal data bears this fact out as well, students wearing masks in the classroom are safe even when they may be less than six feet away from each other. To give you some perspective on this here is the data compiled from all buildings during the first semester. From August 19 to December 18 there were 26 positive COVID cases documented among students across the district. In total 409 students were placed in quarantine during that time period, some due to contact tracing in school and others from contact with people outside of school. Of all the students who were traced as close contacts of a positive student case we have only one documented case of a positive student passing COVID on to another student. That one case could be traced back to having been around the positive student case outside of school. That means that 408 students who were identified as close contacts of a COVID case, either from school or from outside of school, spent 10 to 14 days in quarantine and NEVER developed COVID. Those students were identified as close contacts based on the guidance at the time, even though they were wearing masks and keeping as much social distance as possible. Under those old guidelines we have several students who have been placed in quarantine three, four and even five times and none ever got COVID! What the data has shown is that students are far more likely to get COVID from a family member while at home than they are to get it from a classmate. Rest assured that this new guidance does not change the approach to safety that the Swanton Local School District will take in the school buildings. There will be no change to our mask policy for students or staff. We will continue to provide as much distancing as possible in all areas of the building to help keep everyone safe. This change to the quarantine guidance will simply give us more flexibility to determine who should be considered a close contact. If we are ever in doubt the administration will default to what is the safest option and place a student in quarantine rather than risk keeping a potential exposure in the school. Our ultimate goal is to remain open, just as we have been, for the remainder of the school year. We cannot do that if we start to cut corners with safety protocols. While this new guidance provides us with more flexibility it does not, in any way, lessen the burden on the district to keep everyone safe. It will simply help us to avoid some of the unnecessary quarantines that have taken place in the past. Our schools are as safe as we can make them. The one assurance we can offer is that from the moment students and staff walk in the doors the safety protocols will be enforced consistently. Only in doing so can we hope to continue to provide in person instruction everyday for every student. Go Bulldogs!
Hello! Please take a moment to read the latest community talking points from the Fulton Co. Health Department. Inside you will find important information about phase 1A of the COVID vaccination plan as well as tips on staying safe over Christmas and New Year's. Stay safe and Merry Christmas!