September Family & Community Letter (9/16/2021)

September 16, 2021

Dear CCSD Families and Community Members:

CCSD is coming to the end of the third week of school.  The district fully recognizes our stakeholders’ concerns with the start of our school year.  Currently, approximately 25% of our students and several staff members are in quarantine due to being identified as a direct contact to a confirmed, positive COVID-19 case. 

A significant shift from last year regarding how school districts and Public Health are interacting is associated with contact tracing of confirmed, positive COVID-19 cases.  Last year, Public Health had the capacity to conduct all the contact tracing for each POW school district.  Due to the huge volume of current cases on our island and statewide, Public Health cannot keep up with contact tracing statewide.  School systems have been requested to help with cases directly associated with our schools.  As such, CCSD has conducted several contact tracing cases this year in collaboration with Public Health.  These efforts have resulted in our Kindergarten, 4th grade, 6th grade, and some of our high school students being quarantined.  Additionally, through the direct work of Public Health there are other students and staff members who are currently in isolation due to being a confirmed, positive COVID-19 case or in quarantine for being a direct contact to a confirmed, positive COVID-19 case.  This is not a responsibility the district requested but nonetheless it is a responsibility in today’s context we accept to support our Public Health department and help keep our students, families, and staff members as safe as possible.

Additionally, the district has received questions regarding how a direct contact is determined.   There are four current guidelines utilized to determine if a person is a direct contact to a known, positive COVID-19 case which have been prescribed by CDC.

  1. Was the student or staff member within six feet of the infectious individual for 15 minutes or more, cumulative, within a 24-hour period of the person's infectious period?
  2. Is the student or staff member unvaccinated? Vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine but should be notified of their close contact so that they may monitor for symptoms. Isolate and seek testing if symptomatic.
  3. Has the student or staff member been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days? Anyone that has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days will not be considered a contact.
  4. Is universal masking and three-foot social distancing in place? If these mitigation measures are in place, no contact tracing should be required.

Based on some of the questions the district has received, there appears to be a perception that the district is making up rules and guidelines.  The plan the district has been following was first adopted by the CCSD School Board during the June 23, 2021, Board meeting.  It was again brought before the Board during the August 25, 2021, Board meeting as an Old Business item and was modified based on public comments and recommendations from the CCSD Board Advisory Mitigation Committee.  It will once again be brought before the Board for their review during the September 22, 2021, Board meeting.  CCSD is following the plan that has been adopted by the CCSD School Board by majority vote that prescribes how the district is to respond to our current COVID-19 context.  It also adheres to some recommendations from CDC, especially as those recommendations pertain to determining a direct contact and quarantining. 

These are definitely trying times for our entire island community.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss any item noted in this letter in greater detail.  Thank you for all that you do in support of CCSD’s goals and objectives. 

Sincerely,

Chris Reitan, CCSD Superintendent   

Email: creitan@craigschools.com