After a brief delay because of unhealthy air quality, the Moscow School District opened to in-person instruction this week and district officials say they feel confident they have the correct protocols in place to handle cases of COVID-19.
Superintendent Greg Bailey said Wednesday there have been virus cases reported among students.
“It’s ... kids that either the parents had it or they have been tested and they’re self-isolating,” Bailey said. “Luckily, most of them had it before they even came in, so they’re just staying out — but I think we’ve got a pretty good handle on it.”
Bailey said the district has a number of protocols in place to help minimize the possibility of an outbreak in its student body. If students show any symptoms, they will be sent home right away and parents are asked to do a daily checkup to ensure their child is not experiencing any symptoms of the virus.
“One of the things we did is we changed their attendance so that if they can continue to do their work when they’re home, they’re counted,” Bailey said. “If they’re sick at all, we want them to stay home — the old concept of, ‘oh tough it out,’ is not a thing we want to support right now.”
Bailey said the district will notify anyone who has been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 — particularly those who were within 6 feet of the individual for more than 15 minutes. He said each school will also be notified if a case occurs in their building but those who had direct contact with the infected person will be contacted individually.
He said these rules also apply to district employees, including teachers. Even if someone who is showing symptoms tests negative for the disease, Bailey said they still plan to approach the possibility of that person unknowingly spreading COVID-19 with an abundance of caution.
“If they show symptoms and still test negative, we’ll probably still request them to be out — same with students,” Bailey said. “But if they were just in contact with someone and haven’t shown any symptoms, and they test negative, then that could be a possibility where they can return.”
Bailey said student and faculty compliance with health and safety rules has not been an issue so far. He said the Moscow School District is regarded by some as “overly-protective” compared to other districts, but a cautious response is wholly appropriate — especially in a college town.
“We’re in Moscow and Moscow’s taken (the pandemic) differently than other other communities and rightfully so,” Bailey said. “We’re unique because we’ve got college towns and we’ve got a lot of people that come in and out of our community, so there’s a reason for being a little more cautious.”
Scott Jackson can be reached at (208) 883-4636, or by email to email@example.com.