Re: January 24, 2022

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Lauren Coupland

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Jan 20, 2022, 3:47:36 PM1/20/22
to Jennifer Guy, public....@laschools.net, Christine Bernstien, Melanie Colgan, Ellen Ben-Naim, e.g...@laschools.net, a.jau...@laschools.net
Ms Guy, 
I was pleased to hear that LAPS is not planning on reopening without regard for the current case numbers. However, I know that I and others are struggling with the current uncertainty.  At the 1/11/22 School Board meeting, it was stated that if a school was still at over 5% positive, they would remain closed.  At this time, I believe at least 5 out of 7 schools meet that criteria.  

I was also pleased to hear that you would be taking community case levels into account. School case reporting is imprecise, and taking all of it into account is a wise decision.  I think it would be helpful to have specific metrics announced for community level.  Having the decision based on one person who is juggling an incredible work load is a challenge.  Many parents would like to have more transparency in the counts and the decision making process.  Everyone's risk tolerance is different, and we all have different risk factors at home.  With greater transparency, Families can make the best decisions for themselves.  I really appreciate how flexible the schools have been during this spike.  I'm grateful that I don't have to make semester-long decisions over a wave that will hopefully be over soon.  

I am concerned that if we return to in person school with cases in the school populations, and in the community as high as they are, that closing again in a short time would be inevitable.  We are at an all time high for almost every metric.  Currently, there are 20 individual places on the State Rapid Response watch list. Since school reopened on January 5th, the daily average cases over 14 days has risen from 10 cases a day to 48 cases a day.  We have had 673 cases in Los Alamos county in the last 14 days.  CDC lists our county population as 19,369 - making the county 14 day average 3.47%.  Over that same 14 day period, nearly 40% of cases were in the age groups 0-9, and 10-19.  In the 0-9 age group, 98 of the 213 cases over the course of the pandemic were in that 14 day window, with 59 cases (27%) this week alone.  

Given these numbers, it seems clear that if we reopen Monday, we will undo any slowing of spread achieved this week.  The DOH modeling team predicts that this current surge will peak within a week to a week and a half.  This is the wrong time to reopen.  Delaying one more week may take us past this surge.  Additionally, whenever LAPS does resume in person learning, I believe that there are extra steps that can be taken to reduce transmission in schools.  When I spoke to Gregory Frostad at PED, he stated that LAPS has control over many mitigation measures that could be put in place.  The highest priority should be not allowing staff or students with covid positive family members on campus.  I have heard many of my children's classmates discuss having a covid+ household member this week.  Given how omicron is spreading, we should be keeping everyone with such a significant exposure out of the schools.  We need an action plan beyond those that were implemented before the return to remote learning if we are going to reduce spread enough to keep schools open.  

I understand that another week of remote learning can be an extreme hardship.  I hope that LAPS can work with local community organizations to help those in desperate need.  Personally, I will be donating to Self-Help, LA Cares, and bringing food to the food pantry at the United Unitarian Church.  I would also support limited supervision of students in greatest need as determined by the school counselors.   The need for inperson school is great.  But to return at the highest level of cases, without significant changes in mitigation would be foolish, and would just create more challenges and transitions when we would inevitably hit the closure levels for a second time.  

Thank you, 
Lauren Coupland


On Tue, Jan 18, 2022 at 5:07 PM Jennifer Guy <j....@laschools.net> wrote:

Good afternoon, 

I received confirmation and clarification from PED today.  All of the LAPS school sites are in remote learning this week. We will return to in person learning on January 24, 2022. 

We are required to watch a 14 day rolling total of cases in each school. If a school reaches a 5% positivity rate, we are required to move that school into remote instruction temporarily. This pause is to help stop school spread among students and staff. At the end of the 10 day pause, we will return to in person learning. The 14 day rolling count starts over on the first day we return (January 24 in this case). We will watch the next 14 days after return for an increase in school spread. 

We will update case counts on the district website to reflect case positive cases that are reported to the school. We continue to encourage you to report positive cases in your home to your school nurse and stay home if someone in your household is sick. 

If you, or anyone you know, would like to have covid testing, they can get PCR (shallow nasal swab) testing at a drive through site at Overlook Park in White Rock from 8-3 Monday - Friday. You do not have to register ahead of time. They encourage you to take your insurance card but you will not be billed. Testing is free.

If your child had trouble access remote learning today, please contact your child's teacher or school principal. They can help you. 

Please let me know if you need anything.

Have a nice week. 

 

Jennifer Guy

Interim Superintendent 

Los Alamos Public Schools

505-663-2228




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