Important COVID-19 update 10/26/2020
As part of a regular analysis of data, over the last week our staff reviewed past positive COVID-19 cases. They do this to look for instances where a student or staff member tested positive after close contact in an LPS setting with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. Through this review, we have been able to identify instances of potential COVID-19 spread in our buildings.
Here are highlights of what we found as potential spread:
- One high school student eating lunch inside the school.
- One high school student eating lunch outside the school on campus.
- Two staff members in a district support building sharing an office space without face coverings worn at all times.
- Five staff members in one school eating lunch together or in close proximity to each other without face coverings for more than 15 minutes.
- At this time we continue to monitor for any evidence of classroom spread. So far, the instances of spread occurred in settings like lunch and shared adult settings. We are making adjustments in our buildings to address these areas of concern. Positive cases within LPS will continue to be analyzed as part of an on-going review process.
LPS works in collaboration with Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to identify close contacts. Contact tracing is very robust and includes more than just checking if protocols are followed in the classroom. Every case is sourced to an origin. The team also monitors trends in schools, grade levels and classrooms – continuously reviewing information and cases looking for connections and patterns. This information is then used in discussions with the health department and helps us adjust our protocols to further reduce the risk of spread.
Contact tracing is as accurate as the information given by individuals to the contact tracers from the health department. It is important that anyone contacted give accurate information and as much details as possible. This will help us further reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
After a positive case is identified to be in an LPS building, CDC protocols require any high-risk close contacts to quarantine. By excluding high-risk close contacts from school, we reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in our schools if they become positive.
Identifying high-risk close contacts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department have recently updated the factors involved when identifying high-risk close contacts. A high-risk close contact is now anyone within six feet or less of a positive individual for a cumulative 15 minutes within a 24-hour period, and one or both of the individuals are not wearing a face covering during the interaction.
We need your help
It is natural that as the pandemic continues, for everyone to experience fatigue in following protocols. As we approach winter, it is important that we do not let our guards down. Everyone can do their part to help teaching and learning continue at LPS by being vigilant and following these protocols:
- Self-screen every day. Check for symptoms before leaving home. If you answer yes to any of the self-screening questions, stay home. This is the first and most crucial step in protecting one another in our community.
- Wear multilayered cloth face coverings over the mouth and nose while in public settings – especially when physical distancing is not possible. This reduces the spread of droplets that carry COVID-19. Also limit the amount of time face coverings are removed when meeting or eating with others.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap for at least 20 seconds, and use hand sanitizer.
- Keep physical distance between you and others. Any distance makes a difference. Space out as far as you can, where and when you can.
We are taking this pandemic seriously, and we know that you are too. It takes all of us, working together, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 which then allows all of our students to return to school. School is where we can best serve our students and we want them all to return as soon as it is safe to do so.
Updated October 30, 2020