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COVID Update 2/5/2021

February 05, 2021

As all of you know, the Governor recently lowered the risk level for Nebraska to green.  Likewise, at West Holt we have followed that trend and our numbers for the last three weeks have been low.  With that in mind, I have some updates of our protocols at school.


Bad news first - We will continue for the time being, wearing masks in school just as we have since October.  I say this is bad news because I know we are all tired of them.  Please bear with me for my rationale.  I would love to say that we are "out of the woods" with COVID, but I know of a couple of cases in town that have directly impacted our students just this week.  But, other than one recent staff member, we have not had any positive cases in our school for several weeks and the number of students quarantined has been minimal as well.  If numbers continue to trend down, and we don't see any spikes, I do honestly think we will be able to shift to voluntary mask wearing at some point, but we are not there yet.  I would also like to see more vaccines be able to be given in our community to increase the immunity to the virus and to limit the risk for our at-risk populations.


The good news is that we are beginning to allow more and more things to occur in our building.  Starting Monday, we will return to our morning hall meetings with the Elementary School as well as starting up hall walks again.  Birthday assemblies will be in person in the lecture hall next week, and we are also allowing for a pep rally to show our school spirit for our winter sports and activities.  Teachers will be slowly integrating parent involvement in AR and other classroom activities as they see fit.  All guests to the building will be expected to a wear mask the entire time.  The one thing we will still not allow is for anyone to come and eat with students.  Lunchtime is still our biggest chance for exposure and we need to be careful in that arena.  Finally, we will not be doing our temperature checks in the morning as they have not been an indicator for students who are ill.  


Please understand that we are able to allow these types of activities because we are continuing to wear masks at school.  If a child were to become positive with COVID, we will not have to send students home to quarantine because of following the mask guidelines.  This helps to achieve our goal from the beginning which is to keep our kids in school!  This increase in activities will be a good measure to see if our numbers will stay low through the joining of cohorts and the intermingling of students more often.  If we begin to see spikes in our COVID numbers, we will have to back off on these activities.  If numbers stay low, that will increase my confidence in being able to continue to lessen restrictions further.


What can parents do?  Please continue to teach your children good habits of cleanliness. Frequent hand washing/sanitizing, coughing into elbows, keeping distance without a mask, and monitoring symptoms is important.  If your child is ill, keep them home and contact the office.  Finally, encourage your child to avoid friends or family who may be exhibiting any types of symptoms.  Your support for our school during this time has been great, and I ask for it to continue.  I know there have been many difficult circumstances for our students this year, but your support of them and our school has been great and helped keep us in school!


What will not be changing?  Due to CDC guidelines, anyone on public transportation must wear a mask.  That includes school transportation.  All students being transported will have to wear masks until that CDC regulation is lifted.  Also, NSAA guidelines still require all spectators to wear masks at all times and capacity will remain at 50%.  Remember to check with your child, the office, or the athletic administration if you have questions about how a particular event will be managed under the NSAA guidelines.


Thanks for your attention to this message, and thanks for your continued support of West Holt Public Schools.




Mr. Pistulka

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