On Tuesday, Governor John Carney and the Division of Public Health have launched a new school-focused COVID-19 dashboard that will replace the color-coded data dashboard that Delawareans viewed for monitoring school-related community spread (green-minimal, yellow-minimal to moderate, red, significant) of the virus.
While this new tool has valuable information, it may not give families enough details needed to understand what triggers school closures and other things that impact our ability for safe in-person instruction. Keep the following things in mind about the revised dashboard:
- The dashboard provides raw numbers but not percentages. One district may have case numbers that appear to be higher than another district but the size of the student/staff population is not reflected on the dashboard.
- The dashboard does not reflect school or operation departments infectious case numbers that are less than 11
- The dashboard will instead reflect cumulative numbers from the beginning of the school year. For example, it reveals 21 cumulative staff cases in Colonial but does not include the number of student case numbers because they were fewer than 11, too small to show up on the dashboard.
- The dashboard does not take quarantines into account because that data changes so often, sometimes daily. Quarantines are one of the biggest challenges for school operations so it’s important to remember that a school may be forced to close due to staffing issues that affect our ability to have in-person instruction.
- The dashboard does not indicate which specific schools/operation departments are affected by the spread of COVID-19
- The dashboard does not reflect cases linked to athletics or other school-related activities
In Colonial, we support the governor’s goal of returning to in person instruction and look forward to bringing students back to school as scheduled, beginning with those in special programs on January 11th. We know that the safest place for children to be is in school under our controlled sanitized environment where safety protocols are strictly followed. Our goal is to keep buildings open for in-person learners who opt to come to school and to eventually bring all of our students back to school so traditional classroom instruction can resume. That said, as much as we want to see our students and staff reunited in schools we also know from experience that the spread of the virus comes from outside of our school community into our buildings which forces quarantines and/or school closures.
While we plan for the best-case scenarios, we must also remain prepared to pivot in order to keep our students and staff safe. Therefore, we will continue to communicate the number of all school-level and operation departments COVID cases, no matter how small, so families can make decisions for their children and have a greater understanding should there be any closures or quarantines in the future.
WE promise is to continue to keep families fully informed via our E-newsletter, Colonial Clippings, our website, robocalls, and texts. Principals, teachers, counselors, and the rest of our staff remain committed to fulfilling the needs of our students. Should you have any questions regarding your child’s school contact the principal. As we move into a new year, WE embrace this opportunity for Colonial Nation to make decisions on a case-by-case basis regarding our most precious commodity, your children. WE thank you in advance for your continued support and cooperation. Remember, together WE will get through this.