Closure numbers this week were similar to the last few weeks (the up-to-date map can be found at the top of our School Opening Tracker page). This...
Week of 9/27: Course Corrections
This week we look at school closures (the up-to-date map can be found at the top of our School Opening Tracker page in addition to the visual below). We also saw material changes to quarantine policies this week that will have the effect of reducing the number of students learning from home.
- To date we have identified just under 2,200 in-person school closures (up from just over 2,000 last week) across 539 districts (from 469) in 43 states (from 39). Below is our current map:
- New York City schools announced that "beginning on Monday, September 27, we will no longer close an entire classroom when there is a positive case. Vaccinated and unvaccinated students who are wearing face coverings and have maintained at least three feet of distance from a student who tests positive will not be considered close contacts and will not have to quarantine." This move will dramatically decrease quarantine levels in NYC schools.
- The Florida Department of Health issued a new rule eliminating the requirement for asymptomatic students to quarantine after exposure to Covid 19.
- Montgomery County, MD schools issued new guidance indicating close contacts will not have to quarantine unless they test positive for Covid 19. Previous guidance had called for quarantining of all close contacts in addition to precautionary quarantines for students exposed to anyone with "any single symptom" of Covid 19. That guidance, which was stricter than that of the state of Maryland, had been put in place by the County health department and has since been modified.
- Philadelphia's Health Department relaxed guidance for closing schools and is allowing "test to stay" for close contacts where testing is available. Previous guidance had called for schools to close with six cases in a school and the new regulations calls for consideration of grade level closures with 6 cases per grade being the level at which closures-by-grade are considered.
- Anchorage, AK School District eliminated the need for asymptomatic close contacts to quarantine after a review of case data year to date.
- A group of districts in Warren County, OH is piloting a program to reduce quarantine for asymptomatic students based on masking and testing.
- The Lathrop, MO School Board voted to relax quarantine guidelines. From the start of the year 23 student and staff Covid 19 cases had resulted in 215 quarantines.
- In this note the Northwest Hendricks School Corporation, IN superintendent announces a mask mandate, citing 68 Covid 19 cases year to date versus only 5 last year. As part of their new plan, the district adjusted quarantine regulations and will only require symptomatic close contacts to quarantine.
- Portland, ME is introducing pooled testing after having a "bumpier ride" to the start of the school year with school closures and quarantines.
- Utah launched a state wide "test to stay" dashboard documenting schools that are required to test all students. As of this writing three schools are in the "red" category.
- Both Vermont and North Carolina introduced new quarantine guidelines this week as well.
- School District 60 in Waukegan, IL announced live-streaming virtual options for students in quarantine. District 300, IL also references synchronous (live, real time) instruction in their plan for quarantined students.
- New Rochelle, NY introduced synchronous virtual learning this past week for students in quarantine.
- Londonderry, NH schools are struggling to accommodate students in quarantine. "Last school year, we were able to commit a number of staff members to remote instruction as a result of the significant number of families electing to learn in that environment. This year, with full in-school learning, we do not have the ability to redeploy staff in that manner . . . ." begins the note, which outlines other tools the district is using.
- Local media reports from across the country give further evidence of the level of iteration going on. Alamance County, NC and New Haven, CT districts are considering changes to quarantine learning, and Anne Arundel County, MD has announced a revised program launching October 4th. Santa Fe, NM introduced tutoring for quarantining students.