Thirteen staff members, six students confirmed positive
There have been 19 positive cases of COVID-19 at the Platte County R-3 School District since July 1, school officials told The Landmark on Tuesday.
Of the 19 cases reported at R-3 since July 1, 13 of those are staff members and six positive cases are students, school officials said.
The news comes as students, parents and school staff members prepare for the opening of fall classes, scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Laura Hulett, director of communications for the Platte County School District, reported the numbers via an email Tuesday after inquiries in recent days from The Landmark.
“Our 12-month staff returned to buildings on July 1. Some worked in buildings before then but our official re-opening of our buildings was July 1. Some classified staff (administrative assistants and others) returned to buildings the last week of July. Our teaching staff and many other staff categories reported to buildings starting today,” Hulett said on Tuesday.
The confirmation by Platte County R-3 comes a week after the Park Hill School District reported it had 20 cases over the summer, which included 16 students and four staff members.
A Platte County R-3 policy statement furnished by Hulett says when there is a COVID-19 case in school, R-3 will:
.Work with local health authorities to identify and contact close contacts.
.Send individuals home when they are ill and follow health guidance for their return to school.
.Communicate to all families and staff members in the school building.
.Conduct extra cleaning and disinfecting as necessary.
.Monitor symptoms of students and staff.
.Continue to provide important health information to families.
.Encourage daily wellness checks.
Hulett said according to policy when there is a COVID-19 case in school, R-3 will not provide personally identifiable information of an infected individual nor will it immediately close school buildings or classrooms.
Recently, Platte County R-3 announced “so far, the district has heard from 74% of our student population, with about 17% of PreK-12 grade students opting for remote learning.” On Wednesday afternoon, Hulett provided an update, saying “we have heard from 92% of our student population, with about 20.5% of PreK-12 grade students opting for remote learning. Our ‘declaration date’ was delayed until Aug. 10. Any families that did not declare a learning scenario for their student(s) are planned for in-person learning until we hear from them.”
In-person students will start the year in a blended mode, with PreK through fifth grade and Northland Career Center students attending in-person Monday through Friday, and sixth through 12th grades on an alternating (hybrid) schedule, school officials said recently.
Only two options are on the table this year.
“The alternating schedule is considered an in-person learning scenario and is not a student choice. This scenario is initiated based on guidance from local health authorities and other factors. Students will rotate attendance so that approximately half of our in-person learners will attend in-person and half of our in-person learners will attend remotely on any given day,” say district officials.
PreK through fifth grade students attending the in-person mode will not shift to an alternating scenario, like middle and high students.
“An alternating schedule at the secondary level (decreasing the building occupancy by about 50%), allows for increased ability for physical distancing during transitions and reduces student capacity in our largest schools,” say school officials. “According to local health authorities, although we are seeing a substantial increase in cases of COVID-19 in under 10 and 10-19 age groups, it appears that this is primarily stemming from adults transmitting this disease to children.