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South Butler letter details procedures

School updates COVID rules

New pandemic rules that align with the recently revised quarantine recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will give parents in the South Butler County School District a little more control if COVID-19 strikes their households.

Superintendent David Foley said at Wednesday night's school board meeting that he planned to send a letter to all parents Thursday regarding the new district guidelines.

Highlights of the letter include the requirement for staff who test positive to stay home and students who test positive to learn virtually for five days.

The student or staff member must then wear a mask for five additional days when they return to school.

If a student or staff member lives in a home where a resident has tested positive, they must quarantine at home for 10 days if they are not vaccinated. Vaccinated students who live in a home where an individual has tested positive do not have to quarantine, but must wear a mask for 10 days.

If a student is in close contact with a student or staff member at school who tests positive, parents will be given the option to keep their student home and attend virtual classes for 10 days or send them to school, where they will be required to wear a mask for 10 days.

Also, the district will now accept the results of at-home COVID-19 tests in addition to results from a medical facility or pharmacy, Foley said.

He added that cases are climbing in all four school buildings among both staff and students, which could present challenges in keeping the schools open.

Foley said the threshold for positive cases that would cause a building closure at the high school is 36. The high school currently has 12.

The middle school threshold is 25, and is now at eight cases.

The intermediate elementary school threshold is 14, and now has four cases.

The primary school's threshold is 26 cases, and now has 12.

“I am concerned about the numbers getting to the point where we would not have the ability to have a building open,” Foley said.

Rebecca Boyd, board member, asked how long a school would be closed if the threshold is reached.

Greg Hajek, the district's director of special services, said administrators would confer with the state Department of Health about a school closure.

He said the school would likely close for a minimum of two to three days.

“We are going to be cautious, so we can keep our schools open,” Foley said.

The school board also heard from Cassie Brown of DRAW Collective Architects, which is the company that will guide the district through its multi-million dollar renovation project at the high school and middle school.Brown said the project is in its infancy stages, and upcoming actions by her firm include a predesign study, an assessment of the district's needs and objectives, and defining the project's scope.She said a three-dimensional scan of the high school will be completed and sewer and other lines under the high school may be assessed for stability due to their age.“There's a lot to be decided,” Foley said.He said an upgrade of the high school science labs and other instructional areas continue to be the most important components of the renovation project.He said district solicitor Tom Breth is working on the agreement between the district and the architectural firm, and financing will be discussed at next month's meeting.“We are excited to get started,” Foley said.