COVID-19 Updates

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    October 14,2020

    Parents/Guardians,

    It has been a challenging two weeks with the number of positive COVID cases with both students and staff members.  We do have some good news in looking at our numbers with both positive cases and students in quarantine.

    At this time we have 0 positive cases with students in our district.  We do have 1 staff member that tested positive this week, but they will likely be released from isolation prior to school starting back up on Monday.  We currently have 75 students and 2 staff members that remain in quarantine, but many of them will also be set to come back to school next week.    

    The district appreciates your patience and willingness to work with the schools to help us overcome this ever changing situation.  The new guidelines that came out last week will continue to be enforced.  These guidelines will allow some students the option to return to school even if they are named a close contact.  This will only be allowed if the investigation shows that masks were worn by both the positive case and the close contact during the time of the exposure.  That is why it is crucial to encourage your students to wear a mask.  Encouraging them to do so could allow them to still attend school while they complete their quarantine.  Just as a reminder, any student that is named a close contact, whether masks are worn or not during the exposure, will not be allowed to participate in activities.  Consistent mask wearing by all parties involved in activities is not possible and puts students, coaches and fans of both communities at risk.

    It is important to note that Sidney Public Schools is a non-partisan entity.  The encouragement of the mask wearing only comes from guidance from the health department and as an effort to keep as many kids in school as possible.  While we do have offsite learning options for students in quarantine, we all know that students maximize their academic and social potential by being in attendance at school.  We also want to do what we can to keep our students, staff and community safe.

    We will continue to update you if/when we have positive cases or students in quarantine.  You can find this information by clicking on the COVID tab at www.sidneyps.com.  This is our new web address and will be taking the place of our old address of www.sidney.k12.mt.us.  We will update this as frequently as possible. 

    I want to again express my gratitude to all that you are doing to help SPS as we maneuver our way through this situation.

    Sincerely,

    Brent Sukut
    Sidney Public Schools Superintendent

     

    October 9,2020 
    Additional Quarantine information

    Parents/Guardians,

    Since sending out the information on the new quarantine guidelines yesterday, there are a few areas that need to be clarified.  This should clear up some of the confusion created by a lack of information on my part yesterday.  I do apologize for that, and hope this information will help.

    Students that are currently in quarantine will remain at home until their quarantine date has been satisfied.  Neither the school or health department can conduct an accurate retroactive investigation for a student's contact with a positive case and determine whether or not masks were worn by both parties during the time of potential exposure.  If you have been asked to quarantine by the health department you will need to complete that request from home.

    Students that are named as a close contact will not be allowed to participate in activities.  If you are a close contact that is allowed to attend school, you will not be allowed to participate in activities.  We are currently working on a plan for these students to participate in practice with some strict guidelines.  That information will be given to coaches and they will be able to communicate what these guidelines will be and when they will take effect.  Right now, if your student is a named contact, they will need to complete their quarantine from home and will not be able to practice.  Again, there is no way to accurately investigate old cases and determine whether masks were worn by both parties. 

    A symptom survey will be given to each close contact attending school on a daily basis.  This survey will ask them simple questions about their health that day.  It may ask if they have a sore throat, runny nose, cough, ect…  This will assist the school in monitoring those students.  Students that display symptoms and are close contacts will not be allowed to continue attending school for the remainder of their quarantine.  This is for the safety of all students and staff in each building.    

    If a family member is named as a positive case, any students living full or part time in that household will be required to quarantine from home, unless otherwise told by the health department.  Families do not consistently wear masks around one another while at home, and the spread of this through households is relatively easy.  These students will not have the option to attend school while in quarantine.  

    School staff members will also be given the option to return to school during their quarantine if the health department determines their contact was made while masks were worn by both parties.  Please note that this is an option for them.  If they choose to quarantine from home they will still have the capability to teach from home.  This will be determined on a case by case basis.

    ***This plan will only be in effect for new cases.  All students currently in quarantine will need to follow the guidelines given to them by the health department. 

     

    October 8, 2020 (2 of 2)

    Parents/Guardians,

    School Quarantine

    On October 7th, the Richland County Board of Health voted 4-1 in favor of allowing identified close contacts to a positive case where both parties were wearing a mask the option of attending school
    throughout their quarantine.  In other words, if both parties were wearing a mask when the contact occurred, the identified close contact will have the option of attending school onsite.  Parents of
    students that fall into this “optional monitored quarantine” may choose to allow their child to attend school during their quarantine, or carry out their quarantine from home.  Again, this is the option of the
    parent.  If a student qualifies and chooses to attend school onsite during their quarantine they will need to:

         1. Wear a mask at all times.
         2. Remain symptom free throughout the duration of their quarantine period. 
         3. Eat lunch at school. (This mainly applies to high school students.) 
         4. Complete a health assessment survey daily.

    Students who fail to meet these guidelines will be asked to complete the remainder of their quarantine from home.  If the student becomes symptomatic during the quarantine, the family will need to reach
    out to their primary health care provider, call the walk-in clinic, or call the Richland County COVID Information Line at 433-6947.   

    Student Activities

    Care must be taken that activities that require removing masks are done only when people can socially distance themselves appropriately.  As this is not appropriate or possible for activities that require
    strenuous activity and where social distancing is not possible, close contacts will not be allowed to participate in activities until the duration of their quarantine has been complete.  This will be the same
    for students that qualify for attending school during quarantine.  These students will be allowed to attend practice as long as they wear a mask for the duration of practice and maintain social distancing at
    all times.  

    We understand the frustrations associated with students having to quarantine in the community.  We are doing everything in our power to keep our students and staff safe while still providing as many
    opportunities to all of our students as possible.  The support from the community during this extremely difficult time is appreciated and we hope to continue to find ways to create more opportunities for our
    students while keeping everyone safe. 

    Sincerely,

    Brent Sukut
    Sidney Public School Superintendent

    October 8, 2020 (1 of 2)

    As of Thursday, October 8th, Sidney Public Schools has had 17 total confirmed positive cases with students and staff in the district.  Of these cases at the high school, there are still 6 students and 1 staff member that remain positive and in isolation.  There have been 5 student cases at the high school that have been identified as recovered and released from isolation.  Central School has 1 active case and West Side has 4 active cases.  The Sidney Middle School still has 0 active cases.  This brings our number of identified positive cases in the district to 17, with 5 cases that are recovered.  The new active case count total is 12.   

    Families of students with potential exposure will be notified by the health department once their contact investigation is complete.  Please keep in mind that these investigations take many hours to complete.  If you have been contacted by the school, please be patient as you await a call from the health department.  All protocols have been followed according to the CDC and RCHD guidelines.  Unless you or your student have been notified by Richland County Health, Sidney Public Schools, or your health care provider about a potential exposure, it is not necessary to withhold your student from attending school in-person.  Students from families that received the notification yesterday will not be allowed to attend school until they have been cleared by the RCHD to do so.      

    If any staff or students are at risk of exposure, the RCHD will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action. It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill, stay home, and please call their medical provider or the Richland County Health COVID Information Line (406-433-6947) for specific instructions. At the request of Sidney Health Center, in regards to COVID-19 symptoms, please do not go to the health center without prior contact with your healthcare provider or the Richland County Health Department COVID Information Line.

    Sidney Public Schools will continue to operate with full staff and student onsite attendance.  Any students needing to quarantine due to this case will still have full access to all class content and curriculum at their home through the Sidney Schools online platform.  Contact your building principal for details about these measures.  School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available.

     

    October 2, 2020

    On Friday, October 2nd, 2020, the Sidney School District was notified that 3 high school students,  and 1 West Side student all tested positive for COVID-19. The positive tests were confirmed on Thursday, October 1st and Friday, October 2nd.  This is an update for those two days, since we did not get a chance to send out the update yesterday.

     This brings the total positive case count in the school district to (12); (8) cases are at the High School (1 staff member), (1) case at Central, and (3) cases at West Side School. Notifications were sent out by the school to alert necessary families of the situation.  Several students have been asked to stay home today while the Richland County Health Department conducts their contact investigation.  Since learning of the diagnosis, the RCHD and Sidney Public Schools, in cooperation with the family of the student, have been in communication about the plan for this case moving forward.  Families of students with potential exposure will be notified by the health department once their contact investigation is complete.  Please keep in mind that these investigations take many hours to complete.  If you have been contacted by the school, please be patient as you await a call from the health department.  All protocols have been followed according to the CDC and RCHD guidelines.  Unless you or your student have been notified by Richland County Health, Sidney Public Schools, or your health care provider about a potential exposure, it is not necessary to withhold your student from attending school in-person.  Students from families that received the notification yesterday will not be allowed to attend school until they have been cleared by the RCHD to do so.      

    If any staff or students are at risk of exposure, the RCHD will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action. It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill, stay home, and please call their medical provider or the Richland County Health COVID Information Line (406-433-6947) for specific instructions. At the request of Sidney Health Center, in regards to COVID-19 symptoms, please do not go to the health center without prior contact with your healthcare provider or the Richland County Health Department COVID Information Line.

    Sidney Public Schools will continue to operate with full staff and student onsite attendance.  Any students needing to quarantine due to this case will still have full access to all class content and curriculum at their home through the Sidney Schools online platform.  Contact your building principal for details about these measures.  School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available.

    October 1, 2020

    On Wednesday, September 30th, 2020, the Sidney School District was notified that a high school staff member, high school student, Central School student and West Side student all tested positive for COVID-19. The positive tests were confirmed on Wednesday, September 30th.

     This brings the total positive case count in the school district to (8); (5) cases are at the High School (1 staff member), (1) case at Central, and (2) cases at West Side School. Notifications were sent out by the school to alert necessary families of the situation.  Several students have been asked to stay home today while the Richland County Health Department conducts their contact investigation.  Since learning of the diagnosis, the RCHD and Sidney Public Schools, in cooperation with the family of the student, have been in communication about the plan for this case moving forward.  Families of students with potential exposure will be notified by the health department once their contact investigation is complete.  Please keep in mind that these investigations take many hours to complete.  If you have been contacted by the school, please be patient as you await a call from the health department.  All protocols have been followed according to the CDC and RCHD guidelines.  Unless you or your student have been notified by Richland County Health, Sidney Public Schools, or your health care provider about a potential exposure, it is not necessary to withhold your student from attending school in-person.  Students from families that received the notification yesterday will not be allowed to attend school until they have been cleared by the RCHD to do so.      

    If any staff or students are at risk of exposure, the RCHD will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action. It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill, stay home, and please call their medical provider or the Richland County Health COVID Information Line (406-433-6947) for specific instructions. At the request of Sidney Health Center, in regards to COVID-19 symptoms, please do not go to the health center without prior contact with your healthcare provider or the Richland County Health Department COVID Information Line.

    Sidney Public Schools will continue to operate with full staff and student onsite attendance.  Any students needing to quarantine due to this case will still have full access to all class content and curriculum at their home through the Sidney Schools online platform.  Contact your building principal for details about these measures.  School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available.

     

    September 30, 2020

    On Tuesday, September 29th, 2020, the Sidney School District was notified that another high school student tested positive for COVID-19. The positive test was confirmed on Tuesday, September 29thth.  This brings the total positive case count in the school district to (4); (3) cases are at the High School and (1) case is at West Side School.  A text and an email were sent out last night at approximately 10:45 PM to parents and students that were identified as being part of the infected individual’s contact log.  These students have been asked to stay home today while the Richland County Health Department conducts their contact investigation.  Since learning of the diagnosis, the RCHD and Sidney Public Schools, in cooperation with the family of the student, have been in communication about the plan for this case moving forward.  Families of students with potential exposure will be notified by the health department once their contact investigation is complete.  All protocols have been followed according to the CDC and RCHD guidelines.  Unless you or your student have been notified by Richland County Health, Sidney Public Schools, or your health care provider  about potential exposure, it is not necessary to withhold your student from attending school in-person.  Students from families that received the notification last night will not be allowed to attend school until they have been cleared by the RCHD to do so.      

    If any staff or students are at risk of exposure, the Richland County Health Department will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action. It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill, stay home, and please call their medical provider or the Richland County Health COVID Information Line (406-433-6947) for specific instructions. At the request of Sidney Health Center, in regards to COVID-19 symptoms, please do not go to the health center without prior contact with your healthcare provider or the Richland County Health Department COVID Information Line.

    Sidney Public Schools will continue to operate with full staff and student onsite attendance.  Any students needing to quarantine due to this case will still have full access to all class content and curriculum at their home through the Sidney Schools online platform.  Contact your building principal for details about these measures.  School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available.

     

    September 28, 2020 

    On Monday, September 28th, 2020, the Sidney School District was notified that another high school student tested positive for COVID-19. The positive test was confirmed on Monday, September 28th.  This brings the total positive case count in the school district to 3.  Two cases are at the HS and 1 case is at the elementary level.  There are a number of students being asked to quarantine at this time.  Since learning of the diagnosis, the Richland County Health Department and Sidney Public Schools, in cooperation with the family of the student, have shared the contact log for the identified student, and families of students with potential exposure will be notified immediately by the health department.  All protocols have been followed according to the CDC and Richland County Health Department guidelines.  Unless you or your student have been notified by Richland County Health about potential exposure, it is not necessary to withhold your student from attending school in-person.      

    If any staff or students are at risk of exposure, the Richland County Health Department will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action. It is still recommended that any person who feels sick or ill, stay home, and please call their medical provider or the Richland County Health COVID Information Line (406-433-6947) for specific instructions. At the request of Sidney Health Center, in regards to COVID-19 symptoms, please do not go to the health center without prior contact with your healthcare provider or the Richland County Health Department COVID Information Line.

    Sidney Public Schools will continue to operate with full staff and student onsite attendance.  Any students needing to quarantine due to this case will still have full access to all class content and curriculum at their home through the Sidney Schools online platform.  Contact your building principal for details about these measures.  School officials will continue to monitor the situation and will provide further information if and when it becomes available.