Over 100 Sun Prairie students in COVID-19 quarantine since school began

The district reports 22 active COVID-19 cases out of over 8,000 in-person students.
Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:05 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. (WMTV) - As the Sun Prairie School District wraps up its second full week in the classroom, 102 students are isolated at home due to a close-contact within the school environment.

According to the district’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard, there are 22 active COVID-19 cases out of the over 8,000 students learning in-person this year.

Nick Reichhoff, the Director of Student Policy and School Operations for the Sun Prairie School District, says some of the high rate of activity is to be expected.

“We have all our schools at full in-person capacity going to school five days a week which we know our community wanted,” said Reichhoff. “We’re doing everything we can for mitigation inside of our buildings.”

Reichhoff says the district is following CDC guidelines and only quarantining students when they may have had exposure during times when not wearing a mask, like in the lunchroom.

“We had to quarantine people that were sitting around them just for precaution and for safety,” he explained. “It’s safe not to quarantine in classroom contact situations.”

Dr. Jeff Pothof says its unlikely most students who test positive get it from being in school.

“They likely brought it in from their personal lives and the things that they’re doing either after school or maybe got it at home through their family,” said Pothof.

He also said it is expected that some students will be infected with the virus.

“A lot of the cases that are coming in are coming in through not anything related to school, but just that these kids are part of a community where there are high rates of COVID-19,” said Pothof. “Some are going to end up catching it.”

Both the Sun Prairie Area School District and UW Health are making recommendations to caregivers to check children for COVID-19 symptoms before sending them to school.

“That’s really the number one way that parents can help school districts across the county stay open and maximize in-person instruction,” said Reichhoff.

Doctors and district staff recognize it can be a tough decision to keep a child home.

“It’s disruptive to the family. It requires everyone to make contingency plans,” said Pothof. “But, we have to be better than that.”

Reichhoff encourages families to take advantage of the on-site testing offered at Sun Prairie Schools.

“If a kid does have symptoms, we can rule out COVID-19 very quickly and they can return to school and miss very minimal instruction,” said Reichhoff.

Dr. Pothof encourages families to give some grace to school districts navigating COVID-19 protocols.

“They’re trying to do their best to keep their students safe but at the same time make sure they get a good education that they can develop,” he said.

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