Vermillion School District

Late last week, Vermillion School District officials informed its students’ parents that the district would be moving from yellow status to orange status in its Return To School Plan.

This means that the district is moving from a “moderate” to a “heightened” level of alert following risk assessments completed in building in the district.

“Due to increasing Covid-19 numbers in the region and our community, the VSD (Vermillion School District) will be moving from our Yellow status to Orange in our Return to School Plan (found on our website on p. 16),” states the email that parents received from district administrators Friday. “Orange indicates a heightened sense of alert and additional safety concerns would be considered.”

The email notes that the school board will “meet early next week to clarify any expectations and review the latest data.”

Parents were also informed in Friday’s communication that the possibility of holding remote classes on Nov. 23 and Nov. 24, prior to Thanksgiving, may be considered and will be finalized next week.

“This number is up from last week and State data suggests the entire region can expect more cases in coming weeks,” the email states. “With this in mind, our goal remains to have students in attendance for in-person learning as long as possible. To achieve this entire district must continue to do the mitigations necessary to stay in person, including curbing outside-of-school exposures where students work or socialize.”

The email states there is a possibility that a close contact exposure could require an entire team or group to quarantine for 14 days, thus canceling sports or fine arts activities for those two weeks.

“Our school has had approximately 150 students quarantined this week. Please continue to monitor your student's health daily and heighten the other mitigations to keep everyone safe, healthy, and in school,” the email states.

Last Friday’s email noted that the active number of COVID-19 cases in the school district was 15 at that time. By Monday, the latest data showed that number had dropped to 13 and led the Vermillion School Board to steer away from the online learning suggestion to concentrate on other mitigation steps (see related story).

The small drop in the case number did not change the district’s ORANGE status in its Return To School Plan.

According to the plan, staff members are in daily contact to monitor health indicators, which include the number of COVID-19 cases, the number of staff and students who report illnesses and a host of other data points.

The four-tiered color code of Green (low), Yellow (moderate), Orange (heightened) and Red (high) was developed to help share the “level of alert” status of the school district regarding COVID-19 with school district families.

The priority of the level of alert is the Vermillion School District classroom and building case numbers.

The Orange alert’s general conditions include: New infections increasing in Vermillion, several possible cases in school buildings, staff and students closely adhering to safety protocols and waning epidemic control.

Steps that may be considered involving the learning environment in the district under an Orange alert include: School buildings are open, but visitors may be limited, remote learning district-wide is under consideration, activity capacity may be further limited, food service may be moved to classrooms, no outside volunteers are allowed in buildings and no outside groups are allowed to use school facilities.

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