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Schools consider COVID-19 protocol updates after holiday break

Published: Jan. 3, 2022 at 6:35 PM CST
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The New Year marked the highest 7-day percent positive since testing started 23 months ago.

With Wisconsin’s 7-day percent positive at nearly 25% school districts in central Wisconsin anticipate a surge as students return from the holidays.

Halfway through the school year, the Steven Point School District had nearly 325 students that tested positive for COVID-19 compared to nearly 490 all of last year. With cases on the rise, the district is considering making some updates to their protocol.

“This is likely not going to be the last time that we make adjustments to our protocols, kind of the key word here has been flexibility,” said Cory Hirsbrunner, Assistant Superintendent at Stevens Point School District.

Monday they had 28 staff members and 48 students positive with COVID-19. They had 163 in quarantine Monday as well. Hirsbrunner said the numbers are constantly being updated.

“We’re finalizing some possible updates to our protocols tomorrow,” said Hirsbrunner.

DC Everest sent an email to parents to explain what their plan will be.

Email sent to parents.
Email sent to parents.(wsaw)

The Wausau District will be continuing with their procedures established prior to winter break, even though Marathon county is seeing high transmission.

“We are expecting a surge in January, so typically what happens after the holiday week, the last two weeks, we anticipate a surge just as more people are gathering together,” said Aaron Ruff, Public Information Officer.

Over the last week, Marathon County averaged 136 new positive cases per day. Portage County’s 7-day average is 82.

Portage County recorded its highest 7-day average since the pandemic started on January 1st.

In Stevens Point, Hirsbrunner said it’s important to be adaptable. Steven’s Point School District teachers and students are prepared to shift to online learning if necessary.

“Our focus has been to try to keep kids in school as much as we possibly can,” said Hirsbrunner.

She said change isn’t always easy, but the district will continue to do its best.

“Keeping up with all this and keeping in touch with families and medical providers and the county health department, it’s taking a toll,” said Hirsbrunner.

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