November 11, 2020
Throughout the first 9-weeks of school our district was minimally impacted by the Covid-19 Virus. Each week there were single digit absents in students and staff associated with the virus due to either a positive case or a direct contact. None of which was caused by a transfer at school. Our location, size and demographics assist our district in minimizing the spread compared to many of our neighboring districts. However, we knew at some point this could all change.
Currently in our state there is a spike in Covid cases. Bluestem has officially had its first positive case that has led to the Butler County Health Department requiring mandatory quarantines of students and staff. That one positive case has resulted in 19 students and 2 staff members needing to quarantine for 14 days. In a matter of a week, our district has gone from minimal cases to 10% of the student body absent in some form or fashion. With that being said, to be completely transparent, there are only 3 positive student cases out of 500 students. Half of the absents come from contact outside of school and the rest are sports related where masks and social distancing are not as defined as in the classroom.
It is the district goal to provide face-to-face instruction throughout this school year. The statistics have shown across the state that one of the safest places for our students to be is in school as these controlled environments are not contributing to the spread of the virus. We want you to know that there is no magic number or percentage of student absents that would close our doors. We feel it is best for our students and best for their families that we keep the schools open. However, if we are unable to safely staff our facilities, there is a possibility of moving to a remote setting. That is why we are asking all families to please err on the side of caution and stay home when you are feeling ill. All attendance requirements have been modified this school year to not negatively impact our students. Any student who has to quarantine, will have leniency and grace when it comes to assignments and grading. We ask that students put forth a good faith effort and continue to communicate with your teachers.
We have learned a lot since we were forced to go remote back in April. We are improved and more up to challenge. But, at this time, the best educational environment for both learning and safety is still in the school. We will continue to keep you updated on the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic. But to not contribute to the fear or ever-growing miscommunication, only parents of students who have close contact to someone who has or may be positive for Covid-19 will contacted and only under guidance by the Butler County Health Department will quarantines be implemented. If you have not been contacted, you can assume that your student has not been exposed.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s school or the district office. This is one of the most difficult times in the lives of our children, families, and teachers. Together, we will get through this. We thank you for the continual support as we continue through these uncharted waters and we wish all our Bluestem family the best as we work to close out the first semester of school.