January 8, 2021
Thoughts from Dr. Pacatte
Happy New Year! Welcome 2021 and the hope that comes with it!
I went into the winter break watching our metrics related to the CORONA -19 virus continue to decline. This gave me a great deal of hope that we will be able to bring students back into our buildings. The pattern of decline continued throughout our two-week break.
From a peak of 108.1 on November 15 our Incidence Rate dropped to a low of 27.1. There was an increase in our numbers approximately two weeks after Thanksgiving where they jumped from 65 to 82 and then began to decline again to where we find ourselves today at 30.8. The Lake County Health Department (LCHD) has anticipated another bump upwards following Christmas. If the pattern holds true and everyone continues following the guidelines, it will begin to decline again shortly thereafter.
I attended a meeting with the LCHD earlier this week. Based on the newest information from the CDC and 9 months of learning about this virus, they are making adjustments to the dashboard they provide for schools. The Health Department has decided to remove their recommendation as to the model of schooling Lake County school districts should offer and align their verbiage with that of the CDC. They will no longer use Virtual, Hybrid, or In School Learning Models; and move to using risk descriptors of High, Moderate, and Low. They are also encouraging school districts to use their own metrics of Incidence Rate and Staffing Capacity and combine them with the mitigations they have in place to lower the risk level of opening school buildings.
We are now in the process of reviewing all of this new information along with the most recent release of the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines to set our target for return. You should expect new information early next week. In the meantime, the staff at Gurnee School District 56 will do their very best to continue providing a virtual learning program that promotes continued growth for our students. Please watch for text messages and emails regarding our return in the next week.