Gasconade R-2 notifies community of nine new COVID-19 cases

‘Community decision’ on individualized learning programs shows flexibility as school officials work with students, families

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 10/14/20

Gasconade County R-2 School District parents received one text message a day from Oct. 7 to12, notifying them of eight student quarantines and one staff quarantine, but no positive COVID-19 …

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Gasconade R-2 notifies community of nine new COVID-19 cases

‘Community decision’ on individualized learning programs shows flexibility as school officials work with students, families

Posted

Gasconade County R-2 School District parents received one text message a day from Oct. 7 to12, notifying them of eight student quarantines and one staff quarantine, but no positive COVID-19 cases.

“Which has been abundantly typical of our quarantines,” said Superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner about the notifications. “One week we have more (quarantine cases) than another week. There is no rhyme or reason for this virus. No potential reason other than outside exposure.”

The first notification on Oct. 7 was for a Gerald Elementary School (GES) student being quarantined due to exposure outside of the district. The student was not exhibiting symptoms.

Likewise on Oct. 8 an Owensville High School (OHS) staff member went into quarantine for possible exposure outside of the district, and was not exhibiting symptoms.

On Oct. 9 an OHS student and Owensville Elementary School (OES) student were both quarantined for possible outside exposure to COVID-19 and were not exhibiting symptoms.

On Oct. 12, one OES student, two Owensville Middle School (OMS) students, and two GES students were quarantined for possible exposure outside of the school and were not exhibiting symptoms.

Garner agreed that the district is settling into this year’s “normal” and new protocols, but are trying not to get too comfortable.

“We are finding ways to continue to monitor our protocols,” Garner said. “We remind ourselves what we are trying to do to keep everyone as safe as we can at all times. It is easy to slide into old habits. We need to ensure we wash our hands, social distance, disinfect desks, highly trafficked areas and remind ourselves of all the protocols we try to put in place.”

However, when the protocols don’t work and quarantine due to possible exposure or a positive case becomes necessary, the district is leaving learning options up to the students, parents and teacher.

“For intermittent kiddos in quarantine we may utilize the same protocols we have used when kids were absent in the past or go virtual. It all depends on how long they will be out and what is in the best interest of all parties.”

The district is making an effort to individualize students’ learning programs to be based on their individual situations.

“A community decision,” Garner said. “Asking the teacher and family what is in the best interest for the kid and everyone involved.”

There are also some instances where the district may not know a student has been quarantined.

“If a student’s last exposure to a student who tested positive was six days ago, then it has already been a week and the student only has eight more days to go before they are at the 14-day quarantine,” Garner explained. “After a weekend it is now six days. Is it in their best interest to enroll them in a virtual situation for five days? That is why we look at each situation individually.”

While the nine new cases are just beginning the 14 day quarantine, Garner said more students returned to in-seat classes on Tuesday. More are expected back Oct. 16.

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