How many positive cases are too many?

Tough decisions are ahead for Paris 95 schools

Superintendent will make the call how long children will stay in school in Paris

By Nancy Zeman nzeman@prairiepress.net
Posted 8/10/20

There are tough decisions likely ahead for Paris 95 Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Larson as the district prepares to return to in-person learning — including when or if the district's …

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How many positive cases are too many?

Tough decisions are ahead for Paris 95 schools

Superintendent will make the call how long children will stay in school in Paris

Posted

There are tough decisions likely ahead for Paris 95 Superintendent of Schools Jeremy Larson as the district prepares to return to in-person learning — including when or if the district's students move to 100 percent remote learning.

At Monday's August meeting of the Paris 95 school board, Larson outlined concerns as the district moves to in-person and remote learning Thursday, Aug. 13.

The school board members agreed Larson is the person to make the call about whether schools be closed. Board president Kevin Knoepfel noted Larson is the one who makes the calls for snow days.

"Last week if you'd have asked me, I'd had said we should be able to keep the in-person learning going at least through Labor Day," Larson observed. "Now I think we'll be lucking to make it until the end of the first full week (Aug. 21)."

The superintendent reported three confirmed COVID-19 cases, noting an outbreak is defined as two cases. In addition, there are 20 students in quarantine. He also reported:

  • An employee has quit over concerns of returning to in-person learning.
  • There are two employees currently quarantined.
  • Two employees are requesting accomodations.
  • Three sports teams — football, PHS cheer and Mayo cheer are under a no contact due to positive cases or contact tracing.

Larson noted the agenda for Monday's meeting was brief because the school board and administration approved the budget and levy this past summer to allow the district to concentrate on returning to school.

Parents on both sides of the return to school argument — yes we should, no we shouldn't — are upset, Larson said. Parents are also upset and complaining because:

  • Students may not be dropped off before 8 a.m. "We cannot allow students to congregate," Larson explained.
  • No parents will be allowed in the building during the school year — including on the first day of school.
  • Any symptoms of the virus — including fever 100.4 degrees or higher, will result in a student being sent home for 10 calendar days.
  • When a students from a preschool or elementary classroom tests positive or contact traced, the entire class will be out for 10 calendar days.
  • At Mayo, a similar positive or contact tracing of a student will likely result in a grade level being out for 10 days.

Larson praised the teachers and the Association of Paris Teachers — the Paris 95 teachers' union — for their hard work in getting the students back in school.