I am writing this letter to give an update and clarification on some of the changes going on around us in regard to Covid-19. As many of you know, the Governor changed Richland County’s risk status to Yellow (Moderate Risk) on September 24. I want to remind you that the school districts delivery method and safety precautions are only based on the number of cases within the school district. To date, Wahpeton Public Schools has only had 1 positive student case this school year. Because of this we have not changed anything within our school day. The only thing that has changed based on the Yellow status of the county is the number of spectators allowed at our extracurricular events.
As I stated above, WPS has had only 1 positive student case this school year. From that case, we identified 28 students as close contacts and placed them on a 14-day quarantine. From those 28 close contacts, zero students showed up as a positive case. There has been significant research done on this in the schools of North Dakota as well. There have been 3467 students and staff identified as close contacts in our schools. Of those 3467 close contacts, only 40 of them have ended up positive. That is a 1.1% rate for students and staff that were identified as close contacts.
Because of the data shown above, Governor Burgum has issued a change in quarantine requirements for school aged children. Last week Thursday, 10/1, Governor Burgum has changed how we identify close contacts. In the past, if we had a positive case in our school, any person who was within 6 feet of that person for 15 minutes or more was considered a close contact and had to quarantine for 14 days. The new rule now states that if the positive case AND the person within 6 feet were BOTH wearing masks, the person within 6 feet is no longer considered a close contact and does NOT have to quarantine. This is an effort to keep more students and staff in school.
If you have any questions, feel free to call me at 642-6741.