Last week was the second week that students in grades 7-12 had the option to learn fully in person since the pandemic began.

On April 15, the Milton School District COVID-19 Dashboard, which is updated on Thursdays, showed that districtwide, 13 students had COVID-19 and 197 others (including two employees) were quarantined due to being in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The dashboard does not specify numbers according to building or grade level.

Districtwide, enrollment is 3,481, according to the January student count. The middle school (grades 7 and 8) has 495 students. The high school has 1,071 students.

Students in grades 7-12 were given the option to learn fully in person or fully online after spring break. Prior to spring break, students opting to go to school in-person were divided into A or B groups and went to school or learned online every other day. Younger students have had the option to learn fully in person since the start of the school year.

Without the hybrid model, about 79% of high school students and about 82% of middle-schoolers opted to learn in person.

Jeff Spiwak, MHS director of athletics and activities, on Monday reported currently MHS has one team not active due to COVID-19.

“Fortunately, we did not have to quarantine the entire team, but the kids removed from the team made it difficult to compete for that two-week period. (The team is still practicing.) This is due to the hard work of our coaches, kids, families and administration (who work incredibly hard to contact trace with fidelity).”

According to Spiwak, “Overall, an incredibly small percentage of close contacts have come from participation in an activity or sport.”

“We see the light at the end of the tunnel, as far as COVID-19 is concerned; however, we still need to maintain vigilance in our virus mitigation practices.”

The April 15 dashboard shows the number of students quarantined due to being exposed – in school – to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was 134.

The number of students quarantined due to being exposed to someone – outside of school is 61, but the number was higher in fall (141 on Nov. 19).

The number of students who tested positive is 13. (No employees are listed as having active cases). Again, the numbers also were higher in fall.

On Oct. 29, 21 students and six employees were listed as having active cases. Close contacts in school were 50 for students and four for employees, while close contacts outside of school were 105 for students and seven for employees. Altogether 193 students and employees were impacted. An email sent to parents identified the Oct. 29 increase as being largely tied to COVID-19 activity within the high school. The district then transitioned MHS to fully virtual learning for two weeks.

On Nov. 19, 197 people were impacted by COVID-19 with 15 students and four employees testing positive and 178 listed as close contacts (31 in school and 147 outside of school).

In January school district employees started getting vaccinated. Employees were not required to be vaccinated.

According to Human Resources Director Chris Tukiendorf, “a significant majority” of the district’s employees are fully vaccinated. The school district has 562 employees (including part-time).

The April 15 dashboard shows 208 students and two employees were impacted by COVID-19.

But whether schools close is about more than numbers.

Superintendent Rich Dahman on Monday morning said: “We continue to monitor the number of positive cases with both students and staff members. Decisions on whether there is a need to close a school building are made in consultation with Rock County Public Health.”

The Rock County COVID-19 Data Dashboard for Schools shows these status indicators in red (caution):

• 238.65 new cases per 100,000 (April 1-14).

• 34% more new cases per 100,000 over the last seven days compared to the previous seven days.

These indicators are concerning:

• Percent of positive tests over the last 14 days: 5.1 percent.

• 83% of hospital inpatient beds in the community were occupied over the last 14 days (April 1-14).

• Number of patients receiving inpatient care is increasing.

• The number of 4-18-year-old children who have tested positive for COVID-19 is increasing.

These indicators are good:

• Ability of schools to implement key mitigation strategies.

• 75% of intensive care beds occupied over the last 14 days.

• 2.9% of inpatient beds were occupied by patients with COVID-19 on average over the last 14 days.

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