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Tuesday Talk with Dr. Dain - November 3, 2020

Greetings Pirate Nation!

Happy November!  With the delay in the school year, I feel as though we are flying through the Fall.  I can’t believe we have 23 days until Thanksgiving.  Gobble, Gobble!

I wanted to give you some updates from the Wyandotte County Health Department.  Many of you probably saw that last week the Health Department released their recommendation not to have winter sports, most notably basketball and wrestling.  At the current time, based on the continued executive order to wear masks, winter sports teams plan to continue playing games/participating in meets OUTSIDE of Wyandotte County, with the exception of Middle School Girls Basketball who will play a handful of games at Piper High School.  If something changes with these plans, we will keep our community informed.

At the elementary level we will be moving from a 50% capacity classroom issue to a 36-square-foot per student formula based on the total square footage of a classroom in order to promote the 6-foot social distancing guidelines.  Both Mrs. Grable and Mrs. Golden have the formula and have figured the number of students allowed for each and every classroom in their buildings.  In most cases, that number is between 23-24 students based on the square footage of our elementary classrooms.  If you need more information regarding specific classroom measurements, please reach out to your building principals and they will be happy to help!  Additionally, if you currently have an elementary student who is attending school in person, but you would like to switch to remote at semester, please be sure you are in contact with your principal at your earliest convenience.

At the secondary level, I do not have any insightful updates from my weekly meeting with the Health Department to any changes they are willing to make—specifically in allowing us to NOT cohort our secondary students.  As you will remember, they have given us permission to bring back secondary students but only if we keep secondary students in cohorts, which is really difficult to do.  At the elementary level this is easy—a class has the same teacher all day and so that classroom and teacher become a cohort.  But at the secondary level, with students having 8 teachers, grouping a cohort of kids that have the same 8 teachers is nearly impossible.  Not that our teams aren’t trying to figure it out…they are…but I wanted you to know the reason we can’t seem to get this to happen as quickly as we would like.  We are frustrated and want our secondary students to have the opportunity to be back in school.  Here are the actions of the WYCO Superintendents during our meeting on Friday, October 30th:

•    Requested Johnson County comparison data after all of their high schools were allowed to go back at 50% in the last 2 to 4 weeks
•    Requested Kansas City Kansas Community College data as they have been allowed to return to all classes at 100%

Lastly, our district nurses received training this afternoon as it relates to the Saliva COVID assessments that will be available at schools free-of-charge for both students and staff who are not feeling well and/or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.  We are very thankful for this benefit being offered via the Health Department.

Family Quarantine Guidance:
If one of your students is quarantined due to being a close contact of someone at school, any siblings in the household can still come to school unless the child begins exhibiting any COVID symptoms or you elect to have the child tested. If a child is undergoing testing, siblings must remain home until a negative test result is received.

Updated Piper School District COVID-19 Data:

                                         Students (9/9-11/3)    Staff (8/12-11/3)
Piper Early Childhood       0                               1
Piper Prairie Elementary   6                               1
Piper Creek Elementary    8                               1
Piper Middle School          5                               1
Piper High School             8                               0
I hope everyone had a restful long weekend; enjoy this fantastic fall weather!

Proud to be a Pirate,
Dr. Jessica Dain