Peter Greene: My Small District Did Not Dodge COVID-19

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Peter Greene thought his small school district could somehow escape the pandemic. He was wrong.

He wrote:

It has been just about two months since I told you that if anyone had a shot of starting school up without major Covid consequences, it would be my little corner of the world. I’m here to report that things are not going well.

Back on September 7, the number of cases for the whole county, since March, was 70. People were not panicked, but cautious, with the usual outlying groups of deniers and total freak-outers. Okay, lots of deniers–this is Trump country, and at this point locals know that there are some stores you avoid if you take masking seriously. Our four school districts went ahead and opened, with two choosing a sort of gradual “soft” opening, and the other two just going for it. 

By October 15, the number of cases had doubled. Two of the four high schools had had two cases each. One shut down to clean for 48 hours; the other sent forty students to isolation. Everyone’s sports are still going on, but with limited audiences. 

Yesterday, the state said we had our highest single day total–46 confirmed cases. I’m sure that’s nothing in major cities, but we’ve got fewer than 50K in the whole county. And our totals are probably lagging because there is no place to go get tested in this county. 

That brings our grand total to 359. As you can see, we’re escalating quickly. 

In schools, things are going poorly. At my former district, somehow, they managed to expose the entire administration team, so all administrators and most of the main office staff have been in isolation. This week the district has gone to virtual school. Two weeks back, an entire fifth grade team was sent into isolation. In another district, three teachers have just tested positive. The state has met with several local superintendents, and schools are going to the hybrid model next week; one administrator has already told his people that after a week of hybrid, they’ll be going virtual. 

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