ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Since the start of school, four Clinton-Massie students have been confirmed to have COVID-19 as of Monday evening.
And since the beginning of school, a total of 86 Clinton-Massie students have gone into quarantine either because they were infected (tested positive) or had been exposed to infection through a positive family member or friend.
At the start of the school day on Monday, there were 39 CM students presently in quarantine; by evening that was 48 students.
While the student numbers can be attention-getting, Clinton-Massie Superintendent Matt Baker said when 86 is compared to the total student population, it registers as a 4.7 percent cumulative rate within the student body as having been either exposed or infected.
The superintendent said those numbers are small when you look at the larger picture.
“It’s not ‘Chicken Little’. The sky is not falling,” Baker said.
Nonetheless, Baker did say there has been an uptick in the number of COVID cases not only in the Clinton-Massie schools but in Clinton County.
Accordingly, at Monday night’s board of education meeting he floated the possibility of changing the week after Thanksgiving to remote learning.
His reasoning is that numerous students will go to family get-togethers over the Thanksgiving weekend, some of them traveling to other states. And he said medical specialists say COVID symptoms present themselves between three to five days.
The idea, said Baker, would be to see who develops symptoms after those family gatherings — and to do that while the district is basically shutdown, limiting students and staff interaction.
No decision was made Monday evening, and Baker noted there are reasons not to make the switch. One of those is that some families, if the change were to occur, would extend their visiting a few days which would undercut the time interval for symptoms to develop while the school buildings are closed.
Baker stressed the move, if it were to be made, would be meant as a proactive approach intended to ultimately maximize in-person learning.
During the meeting, school board member Mike Gorman asked for clarification about who is being told to quarantine. Baker said it is somebody who was within six feet of a confirmed infected person for a cumulative 15 minutes, which is designated as exposure to infection.
Parents of students who have been exposed are contacted by phone and a letter from the superintendent follows. The letter, said Baker, clearly states the exposure date, the quarantine date, and the return-to-school date.
“There are some parents that want to kind of nit-pick our investigative processes, or they want to nit-pick some of the wording in — whether it’s CDC [Centers for Disease Control] documents or the Clinton County [Health Department] or even our school’s policies — we’re doing the best we can to interpret the information that we’re being given,” the superintendent said.
Clinton-Massie District School Nurse Cindy Stenger wanted to assure families that a lot of work is done before calls are made to families about students who have been exposed.
Baker advised that the district’s website has an application where families can apply for the full-time Virtual Education option for the second semester.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.