Hillside News Brief
October 30, 2020
Dates for You
November 4 - No Students at Hillside (Extended Campus lesson only--see message from teacher)
November 25-29 - Thanksgiving Break (students return November 30)
December 9 - No Students at HIllside (Extended Campus lesson only--see message from teacher)
Extended Campus Learning for 2nd Semester 2020-21
Please see the information included below about our K-12 Extended Campus Learner program for second semester. An application link will be available for elementary families on November 10. The application for secondary families is embedded in the newsletter.
(For problems with that link, please cut and paste this into your browser: https://www.smore.com/etpk0 )
We have also attached this document for your review
Westside Community Schools
An Update from Dr. Lucas
We are trying our best to plan, adjust, and communicate to the best of our abilities during this challenging time. We apologize for all of the emails, changes, and stress. As your superintendent, and father of a Westside student myself, I hope this weekly update provides you with a real inside look into all that we are trying to factor in as this global pandemic carries on. None of this is easy for any of us.
Things that give us confidence/hope that staying in school is the right thing to do:
- We have a small number of confirmed cases throughout our school district since school began on August 18th.
- As of this morning, we have had a total of 34 student cases, which comes to 0.54% of our approximate 6,300 PreK-12th grade students.
- As of this morning, we have had a total of 35 staff cases, which comes to 3% of our approximate 1,127 staff members.
- Our data, as well as data from around the county, shows the transmission rate within schools has been low. We do not have evidence that COVID-19 is being passed around through our schools.
- On a very regular basis, we hear from parents/families that share how their child’s mental health, attitude, etc. has improved by being back in school, seeing friends, being in a structured environment with a set schedule, etc.
- We feel our schools are very clean and safe places for students and staff to be because of all of our Pandemic Response Protocols.
- Through contact tracing guidelines, it has been determined that the vast majority of our confirmed cases have originated outside of our schools.
Things that continue to give us concern as we look to the coming weeks/months:
- The spread of COVID-19 throughout our community as measured by confirmed cases per million per day is an important metric that local health experts have continued to emphasize with us. Many believe this number needs to be less than 100.
- On October 11th, this figure was 308.6.
- On October 18th, this number increased to 425.1.
- On October 25th, we had 398.1 confirmed cases per million per day.
- Our number of confirmed cases within our school system might be low simply because we are unable to track asymptomatic cases and lack timely and continuous testing.
- We worry that our community is letting their “guard down” due to “Covid Fatigue” and not doing all we can do to slow COVID-19 down with large group gatherings, no masks, etc.
What factors do we use to make decisions?
We factor in how many confirmed cases of students and staff we have within our school district. We also analyze the “contact tracing” that goes with each case, and again, with few exceptions, our confirmed cases appear to have originated outside of our buildings. We take into account the impact of confirmed cases and quarantines on our staff. We also look at countywide data as we continue to meet regularly with the Douglas County Health Department and reach out to other medical leaders in the area for updates, input, and ideas for adjustments as we move forward.
Below is a rundown of what we have seen throughout our school district in recent weeks. Please keep in mind these case counts include ALL students and staff, to include the Foundation’s Early Childhood program and students/staff that might have already been on quarantine and out of our facilities well before they had a confirmed case. We take a lot of pride in and feel a tremendous amount of pressure around the clock, to be vigilant, transparent, and effective with our contact-tracing and adherence to all health department guidelines.
Through contact tracing guidelines, it has been determined that the vast majority of our confirmed cases have originated outside of our schools. However, we do not like the trend that our total number of cases has increased three weeks in a row.
We NEED Your HELP
We need ALL families to continue to help us. PLEASE make sure you keep your child(ren) home if they exhibit any symptoms. It is simply not fair to send them to school if you think there is even a chance they might be sick with any ailment. PLEASE screen your child(ren) daily. Below are two resources from our website at www.westside66.org that can assist you in this important matter.
List of COVID-19 Symptoms
On-Line Symptom SCREENER
As we look ahead to November and December, we want to make sure everyone understands that a move back to our 50% Yellow where last names A-K attend school on Mondays/Tuesdays and last names L-Z attend school on Thursdays/Fridays with Wednesdays being an “extended campus/at-home” day for all students is a possibility, as is a move back to our 4-Day Green Model where students stay home on Wednesdays. We hope we can avoid going back to “Red” like we had last spring when everyone learned from home.
Over the next few weeks, we would like to see a decline in the number of week-to-week total confirmed cases we have within our school district as well as in the number of confirmed cases per day per million throughout Douglas County. These two metrics will help us determine what adjustments, if any, will be made as we move through the rest of our 1st semester.
REMINDERS and RESOURCES
- The week of November 2nd-6th is already scheduled to be a 4-Day GREEN Week with students staying home on Wednesday, November 4th for at-home work/lessons.
- We offer an at-home/extended campus option for all students/families that feel that model best fits their needs.
- Currently, about 85% of our students are learning in school while the other 15% are learning from home. We feel it is important to provide families with choices at this time and will be doing that again during 2nd semester, as we announced last week.
Contact Tracing Guidelines
How to Wear a Mask
How to Wash a Cloth Face Covering
This update got a little longer than I intended but thanks for reading to the end. We will continue to work hard and communicate to the best of our ability. Thanks for your support.