Staff update from dr. buck
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We have made it to the end of 6 weeks of school. That typically means we are 1/6th of the way through the school year. Usually, it feels like a surprise to get this far so fast. This year, time is a bit different. September 8th seems like a lifetime ago.
- I was on a call recently with a few superintendents from around the country. Whether small or large, rural or Long Island, the same issues are facing schools. Virtual is difficult. Students struggling with academic changes. Contact tracing is eating up a lot of time. Everyone is working harder. Everyone is worrying about their kids. Everyone is flexing in ways they never thought before.
- This is not a year we will look back on and wish we could repeat. It is a year we will look back on and be proud of what we did in uncertain times to meet the needs of our students. Thank you for all that you do.
- No trivia today...next time.
This week's visit with JCHD and KCHD was much shorter. Just 15 minutes. If I didn't ask questions, it would have been more like 5. Why? The data stability. As you likely know by now, the state switched over to a new system 2 weeks ago. Epitrax. They have had historical data change, duplications they have to find, and it is changing. The high point before was around 350/100K for 14 days on August 23rd. Now, it is 406 on August 4th. July 29th now shows 227 cases. The % positivity has also back tracked to early August as the high point, and it hit 19% that first week of August. Overall, they are showing a 9 week decline, but they are not confident that the issues were solved yet and didn't know when they would be.
- We did ask for the 2nd week in a row about school spread...that all of us are not seeing school spread in any significance. Both KCHD and JCHD said they are not either (couple of for certain cases in the entire county/city). This is likely to be the new thing we watch as Independence wraps up their 8th week in school, and then several districts (Blue Springs, Grain Valley, etc.) are wrapping up their 6th week of school. Collecting data.
- In a larger call this morning with Kansas/Missouri districts, the question was asked about school spread. Again, the answer was no. This week, I've visited with friends who are district leaders in NY, Conn., Illinois, and Mo. All of them have said they are seeing little to no school spread.
- We will continue to watch these items as we continue in the fall semester. This is encouraging.
The federal government is sending states an COVID19 antigen test that you can get results in 15 minutes. We asked nurses, JCHD, KCHD, and several local doctors to watch the webinar last week and give us feedback this week. We had lots of questions, and had Mercy, local doctors and JCHD respond to those questions.
- The deadline to apply is next week. When I asked the KC metro superintendents on the Missouri side if they knew how they were going to use it, no one had a complete plan yet, but all were going to apply before the deadline so as to have them available when they had a finalized plan.
- What we are hearing from the health and medical field is that it is a tool that has a niche. Why not use it if it helps save 1 person from getting COVID. It is not meant for when you have severe and multiple symptoms. Those kids (and staff) should not be present anyways (very sick) and they likely need to see a doctor so they can get a flu, strep and covid test. However, if you have one mild symptom at school, and the parent consents, why not use a tool and give the information (not a diagnosis) to the parent. One doctor also encouraged us to consider using it for a screening of wrestlers in the winter season once a week. The state wants us to use this for symptomatic people.
- We will have some decision ahead of us. It will never be required to take one of our antigen tests, that is the only certainty. More to come.
I know that you are all working very hard and flexing as we try to complete our mission at a time when some normalcy is lacking due to the pandemic. You are awesome. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Now, go have a wonderful weekend and bundle up on Sunday (40s for a high!).
Central Office, Administration