LEWISBURG — Tri-County North Board of Education members discussed the ongoing effects of COVID-19 during their regular monthly meeting Monday, Nov. 16.
Despite mask and social distancing mandates, all Preble County schools have reported COVID-19 cases since the start of the 2020-21 school year. National Trail High School and Preble Shawnee have each moved to remote instruction for two-week periods, while Twin Valley recently announced that K-4 students would go remote at least through the Thanksgiving holiday.
Superintendent William Derringer shared an update from Preble County Health Commissioner Erik Balster on the current state of COVID-19 in Preble County. As of Nov. 16, the county had seen 44 confirmed cases in patients 19 years of age or younger over the last two weeks, according to Derringer, with 22 between the age of 15 and 19.
“I think we can attribute the majority of those to the activities and things the kids are doing,” Derringer said. “It’s not being transmitted a whole lot in schools, which is good for us. When the governor comes on and says it’s usually being spread by these small-group gatherings with family and friends, that is truly what we’ve seen is how it’s happening.”
Derringer reported that TCN had seen three confirmed cases among students and nine involving staff or employees, but that over a hundred individuals had been quarantined due to being in close contact with an infected person.
School nurse Jennifer Griffy had called the parents of 18 third-graders the previous night to tell them their children wouldn’t be able to come to school, according to Derringer. The quarantine order was lifted the next day following a negative coronavirus test.
“She’s down there right now calling 18 parents and telling them, ‘Hey, your kids can come back,’” Derringer said. “They only missed one day.”
Derringer referenced recently released guidelines detailing “what it’s going to look like if the district does have to go virtual.” K-4 students will log onto online classrooms during a four-hour period during the first half of the day, Derringer said, while 5-12 students will log on for four and a half hours.
“Everybody we talked to who tried to do this on just a normal day’s schedule – being in front of a computer that long, the kids just got worn out,” Derringer said. “We heard nothing positive about doing that.”
Derringer also reported that the district had used funds from a Broadband Connectivity Grant to purchase 150 “hot spots” for use by students with little or no home internet access.
Tri-County North Board of Education meetings take place the third Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the High School Lecture Room.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish