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Janesville schools’ new COVID-19 dashboard shows 22 active cases, 280+ in quarantine

Coronavirus and schools
Coronavirus and schools(KWCH)
Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 10:22 AM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - The School District of Janesville is going further to explain its procedures for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and reacting to new confirmed cases. Additionally, it rolled out a dashboard that shows how many students and staff are battling the virus and how many may have been in contact with them.

The dashboard, which updates weekly, shows 15 students have tested positive and are considered active cases. Additionally, more than 200 other students are quarantining themselves, having been identified as coming into close contact with an infected person. Over 800 “low-risk” students are also being monitored for symptoms.

The most active cases (10) are among the district’s high-schoolers. Only one case has been reported in the middle schools, while four elementary students have tested positive.

Among the staff, seven total cases have been found - one in a middle school and three each in elementary and high schools. That has forced nearly 80 staff members into quarantine, while 136 are considered low-risk.

SDJ Protocols

District officials explain they are working closely with the Rock Co. Public Health Dept. on their COVID-19 response procedures.

SDJ Superintendent Steve Pophal said the entire district is working to provide an excellent education for their students, yet still being mindful of the safety recommendations put in place to protect the community.

“We need everyone’s help and cooperation to be able to provide face-to face instruction,” he continued. “We’ve already had to pivot to online instruction for two schools, and only by working together, we can minimize the frequency and duration of those pivots while reducing the spread of COVID-19.”

While the district begins contact tracing to determine who needs to quarantine and who should be monitored, officials note they are only able to do so among SDJ students and staff. Contact tracing that extends outside of the schools, for example to stores or restaurants or workplaces, have to be handled by other agencies.

The district will require anyone determined to have close contact with an infected individual to quarantine for 14 days, while those who may have shared a classroom or meeting space with someone who tested positive without meeting the close contact criteria will be asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.

A close contact is defined by the district to be someone who was within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes or without a mask. Anyone identified as a close contact will be called by district directly, rather than by the health department. At that time, they will be instructed on what they will need to do.

Returning to school

Any student or staff will have to meet certain criteria before they will be allowed to return to school, the district stated, laying out three requirements. However, it pointed out that Rock Co. Public Health may impose others on a case-by-case basis. The three listed by the district, all of which must be met, are:

  1. 10 days after the date of the the first positive COVID-19 test;
  2. No other COVID-19 symptoms have developed, and;
  3. A note from a health care provider that confirms it is safe for the person to return.

For those not infected, the district asks they follow these steps to help stop the spread of coronavirus:

  • Do a daily health assessment (check temperature, check for signs of illness such as congestion, sneezing, coughing, etc.) before heading to school
  • Anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees needs to stay home
  • Stay home when sick
  • Wear a mask or other face covering
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water
  • Practice social distancing whenever possible

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