Nevis Public School has had more cases of COVID-19 than Laporte, W-H-A, PRB, Menahga and Park Rapids schools combined, according to a letter from Superintendent Gregg Parks that was shared with district families and the media on Friday to explain why the district is in a more restrictive learning environment than some other schools.
In addition, according to the daily bulletin on the school website, all practices and events have been cancelled until at least November 2 for all teams.
According to Parks, the district has had a total of 16 cases of COVID-19 within its student and staff population – 8 high school students, 5 staff members and 3 elementary students – since the beginning of school.
“Currently, we have three active cases in our high school,” Parks said. “Additionally, suspected cases of COVID-19 have had a dramatic impact on our staff, with around one-third of our staff and almost half of our student body having to isolate or quarantine since the beginning of the school year. As a result of the high case counts, we felt it was important to slow the case counts by limiting the number of students in the school and in activities. This is not a perfect solution, but we have seen a decrease among our students and staff. This downward trend bodes well for us getting back to a less restrictive learning model.”
Parks said that school districts may adjust their learning model based on the district’s statistics, rather than simply county-level data.
“The learning model is very much a local decision with multiple data points that help guide the decision,” he said. ”That means schools in the same community can be in different learning models based on each school’s data.”
The Nevis School District is currently in a hybrid model for K-5 students and doing distance learning for grades 6-12.
“Our goal is to try to get our elementary back into an in-person model and our high school back into a hybrid model as soon safely possible,” Parks said. “Our biggest challenge, as educators, is matching the needs of our students and families during a time where the situation is changing rapidly. Please be patient with our teachers and staff while they continually flex to meet emerging requirements.”
Parents who are concerned their child is experiencing social and emotional issues related to the learning model or from COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the school’s social workers.
“If a student is appearing excessively anxious, overly sad, or simply has checked out during this time period social workers Heidi Wormley (grades 7-12) and Krista Platz (K-6) are equipped to help with strategies,” he said. “They both can connect families with appropriate resources if needed. The Center for Disease Control has also put together a Toolkit to assist parents.”