Schools go back to virtual

Posted November 18, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Clinton County schools are once again forced to move instruction to Non-Traditional Instruction, or NTI, as of this week, due to a rising number of quarantined staff members.

This announcement comes on the heels of Clinton County recording the highest number of positive cases in a single week since the pandemic started.

In the county, there were 79 cases added from Monday, November 9, until Sunday, November 15.

Those numbers put Clinton County at 100 active cases on Sunday, November 15, and still labeled as “critical spread-red.”

On Monday morning of this week, Clinton County’s School Decision Index or SDI, was at an all time high of 35.9.

“We are learning that transmission of the virus in the school setting is low,” Superintendent Dr. Tim Parson said. “With the safeguards we have in place, we have been able to keep our students and staff safe when at school during in-person instruction. However, what we aren’t immune to is quarantines that are caused by positive contacts outside the school setting.”

The SDI chart listed 34 students quarantined from the Early Childhood Center, 19 from Albany Elementary, 10 from the middle school and five from the high school.

The number of students who have tested positive for COVID-19 include one at the ECC, three from AES, and one each from the middle and high school.

“I want to commend our staff for making personal sacrifices to keep themselves safe. It’s unavoidable when positive contacts occur inside the home. This is the second time this year where we’ve had more staff in quarantine than available substitutes to step in and support our schools and students,” Parson said. “Whenever that number exceeds our available substitutes, we have no choice but to transition to NTI for a period of time.”

As far as staff is concerned, there are two active cases from the ECC and one active case from the Area Technology Center. There are four quarantined staff members from the ECC, one at AES, three at the middle school, one at the high school and one district staff member listed on the chart.

“We’ve been courageous about keeping schools open the last couple of months, even when the county has been in the ‘red’ when it comes to spread of the virus. The board and I have conversations whenever local numbers are on the increase as they’ve been in the past several days, but we are confident in our ability to keep kids safe in school,” Parson said. “We feel a responsibility to keep our schools open if and when it’s at all possible, but it’s actually an easy decision to move to virtual learning only when we don’t have enough staff to operate the school. We simply don’t have a choice. We are thankful to have the support and confidence from our parents and community who understand the necessary flexibility when these times occur.”

In-person instruction is scheduled to resume on Monday, November 30.