PN - September 30, 2021 » COVID Update

COVID Update

It is our hope that this update finds you and your family in good health and doing well. We ask for your continued prayers as we move through the school year.
I would like to update you on where we stand now in terms of COVID activity within our school, how those numbers compare locally, and the state of our current isolation/quarantine policies.
We also would be remiss if we did not take the time to acknowledge and give thanks for the partnership provided by the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment. They have spent countless hours on the phone and in webinars providing guidance and help.
As of this writing (1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 29, 2021):
Local data:
  • We have 2 students in isolation.
  • We’ve averaged around or under 1% of our student body in isolation (either because of a positive test or because they are identified as a close contact) at any given time.
  • We’ve identified no cases of transmission due to school or school events.  Identification of transmission at school would prove difficult due to the lack of mitigation in place outside of school in the community, but we’ve seen no clustering of cases.
County data (numbers change as data is added):
  • The percent positive rate has decreased each of the last 3 weeks in Johnson County, down to 4.89% for the week beginning 9/19, and for the 14-17 age group it stands at 4.17% (KDHE).
  • The weekly case rate per 100,000 has dropped for 6 straight weeks down to 145.1 for Johnson County, and down to 129.76 for those aged 14-17 (KDHE).
  • The data from the JCDHE website shows similar numbers with a 144/100k incidence rate and a 5.3% positivity rate (JCDHE).
  • In Johnson County, 66.9% of residents 12 and over have received the first dose of the vaccine and 62.2% of residents 12 and over are fully vaccinated.
  • The rate of average new daily hospitalizations in Johnson County has decreased by 16.48% in the last week. (Mid-America Regional Council).
Our current quarantine/isolation policies are the same as was outlined at the beginning of the school year. In a nutshell, any student who has proof of vaccination, proof of a positive COVID test in the last 6 months, or who is masked will not have to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact unless they are symptomatic. Students who are unvaccinated, who have not had a positive test in the last 6 months, or who are unmasked will be required to isolate if they are identified as a close contact. With that said, we’ve also worked with the Archdiocese to obtain the ability to test students who are identified as a close contact, and if they and their parents desire, they may take a daily test and as long as it returns a negative result they may stay in school. More details of the testing protocol and procedures will be supplied to you if your student is identified as a potential close contact.
Your students have done a great job. It is great to see their smiles and hear their laughs. We also need to commend our teachers who have gone above and beyond throughout the duration of this pandemic. When you talk to them and get a sense of how deeply they care about the students at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, it is nothing short of humbling.  If we have anywhere near a “normal” school year it will be because of the work the students and teachers are doing together.
We also want to recognize how proud we are of the way people have been respectful of each other in our community. We’ve not seen any of what could be described as “vaxxer vs. non-vaxxer” behavior from either students or adults in our community, and we feel our families have done a great job of modeling good, respectful behavior in relation to the topic. Our students, in particular, have done a great job of accepting each other’s decisions regarding masks.
Please continue to keep your students home when they are sick, and pray for us and those affected by COVID as often as you can. We know those prayers are heard and they make a difference.
Craig Moss