Monroe County officials provide update on transmission of COVID-19 in schools
The areas of greatest concern for most neighborhoods are the bus and cafeteria or wherever children eat without a mask.
Superintendent Chris Brown of Marcus Whitman Central School estimates that around 60% of eligible students are currently vaccinated, and around 85% of staff are also. As in other districts, in Marcus Whitman transmission mainly occurs during gatherings outside school buildings, which was confirmed by Dr Mendoza on Thursday.
“These are outdoor activities. Weekend meetings, things like that,” Brown said. “But at the same time, a case is a case is a case, it doesn’t matter where you get it. You have it, and it always has an impact in school.”
“For the most part, infected students and staff do so outside of the school environment,” said Dr Mendoza.
At Marcus Whitman, since the start of the school year, there have been six positive cases among students and staff, and none of them have been traced back to the school. There are a number of factors that go into determining whether or not a person should be quarantined after a positive case is reported in a school district.
“Were they wearing a mask, how long were they wearing a mask, what was the distance between the two people, all of that is taken into account and we do it via a contact trace,” Brown said.
After the school district collects all the information needed for contact tracing, that information is sent to the county health department. The DOH then determines who should be quarantined.
“If you were to ask me what is the biggest point of frustration on the part of parents, I would say it’s this quarantine piece,” Brown said. “‘What do you mean my child should quarantine?’ Well, that’s how the county protocol is right now, and the Department of Health protocol, but when we have these rapid tests, it’s going to change and be a little more flexible. “
Dr Mendoza said in his weekly COVID briefing Thursday that he was not concerned about the number of tests available for school districts in Monroe County, which could be a problem in other areas. He expects regular COVID testing in schools to begin in the first week of October.
Watch the full press conference in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):
Normally, school districts are required to report weekly COVID data to the state so that the state can post it on its COVID dashboard. That dashboard is currently not working, but the state says it should be up and running again by Monday. Once it works again, parents will be able to access it here.