September 28, 2020

Published: September 28, 2020
Superintendent Reports

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The reality of COVID and positive tests have recently trickled into our community. We have been fortunate thus far to avoid a community or school district outbreak. Our goal, as educators, is to prepare our students for their careers and success in life. A worldwide pandemic is just one of the many trials challenging our resolve to this goal. Our employees have continued their efforts to courageously serve our district and community. For instance, at the beginning of the health crisis, before the district procured PPE gear, before social distancing, before mandatory masks and hand sanitizing stations…our custodians, school nutrition workers, and maintenance dutifully reported to their campuses and did everything possible to keep our students safe. Our educational staff continues to work well beyond school hours and on weekends to prepare for the new seating/virtual instructional landscape. I’d like to thank every single employee, student, and parent for continuing to serve in the role we chose, and accept responsibility to fulfill our district mission.

As you may have heard, over the past few weeks we have received news that individuals in our District have tested positive for COVID-19. We continue to work closely with the Phelps-Maries County Health Department about proactive efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community and district. As of Monday, September 28, it is important to note that these five positive cases (4 staff and 1 student) are not related to each other and the individuals have not contacted the virus at school. 

Following guidance from health authorities, any individual determined to be in direct contact with the infected individual will remain off-campus for up to 14 days as a precaution. As part of the district’s proactive mitigation efforts, the areas of the campus where the individuals were located upon symptom onset will be thoroughly disinfected and regular cleaning procedures will continue in the rest of the school/facility.

For the benefit of keeping everyone informed about cases in the district, we have created an online dashboard that will be updated regularly. You can find it at: https://stjschools.org/covid-19/

We are not done with this pandemic. COVID-19 and other diseases will always be a part of our everyday lives. Every student, parent and staff member must continue to do their part. Please continue to talk to your children, as we do with our  staff, about the importance of following safety guidelines:

  • The 3W’s: Wash your hands, Wear your mask, Watch your distance.
  • Self-assess every day if you are attending school or work in-person. This includes taking your temperature, checking to see if you are displaying any symptoms, and reviewing your interactions with others. 
  • Stay home if you feel sick.
  • If you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or you have a sick family member at home, call your school to talk about the situation.

On another note, we will continue to enforce several health and safety measures during our Fall activities. Game capacity will be limited and may change when necessary to ensure the best opportunity for our teams and players to complete their seasons. Spectators will wear masks to and during all indoor events. At outdoor events, spectators sitting in the main bleachers of the football stadium will wear masks. Spectators who sit or stand on the side of the main stadium bleachers may remove their masks if social distancing guidelines are followed. Ticket vouchers will allow a person to pay for entry into games, and can be picked up at the High School attendance office from Tuesday at 9am through Friday at 3pm. In order to gain admission to away games, spectators must have a ticket game voucher. At this time, ticket vouchers are not necessary for home or away JV football, MS football, varsity softball, or cross country. Additionally, any student (8th grade or below) must be accompanied by an adult at all varsity football and varsity volleyball games. Anyone not complying with rules will be asked to leave school premises. 

We need help from our parents: As a reminder, students who are quarantined by the health department must follow all provisions of the quarantine until officially released by the health department. Also, as a reminder for students who are not quarantined, please respect the health department’s orders by not being with known quarantined persons. According to the Phelps-Maries County Department of Health, any person or persons knowingly violating any of the provisions of the quarantine could be prosecuted in a court of law. In an effort to do what is best for our students, please help us by reminding your student(s) to take all health department quarantines seriously. Thank you for your help in following all quarantine orders and keeping St. James R-I students and staff safe from the spread of COVID-19. 

We appreciate the support and understanding from all parents and patrons who help develop positive community partnerships with us as we keep our students safe and empower them through caring relationships and academic excellence. #stjtigerpride