SDMA COVID-19 Update - 2/11/2022

SDMA COVID-19 Update - 2/11/2022
Posted on 02/14/2022

Dear SDMA Families and Staff, 

The School District of the Menomonie Area was notified this week that in addition to halting most COVID-19 contact tracing and disease investigations, the Dunn County Health Department will no longer be reporting student COVID-19 cases to the school district. Without reliable and timely notifications of positive cases by the health department, some of the current mitigation measures in the school district can no longer be implemented in an effective manner. Due to this change in protocol by the health department, procedures in the SDMA will be changing on Monday, February 14 to better reflect the voluntary self-reporting practices now in place in our community.

Despite rapidly declining case counts, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services still considers COVID-19 transmission rates to be at a high level in Dunn County. The CDC continues to strongly encourage vaccinations and masking, and the SDMA will continue with increased cleaning and ventilation in school facilities. Symptomatic students and staff will continue to be excluded from attending school/activities unless a negative test is received and/or other criteria are met (ie. already had COVID-19 in the past 90 days). Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will continue to be excluded from school/activities for at least five days. Free COVID-19 testing for all SDMA families and staff will continue to be offered at Menomonie High School.

The school district will no longer be contact tracing, conducting disease investigations, providing notifications of positive cases, excluding household close contacts, or mandating mask use and other COVID-19 mitigation measures unless ordered by federal, state, or local regulations (ie. federal mask mandate for school buses, requirement in an IEP or 504 plan, etc.). The district will no longer be updating the SDMA COVID-19 Dashboard. Beginning Monday, February 14, the school district will be relying on families to help report positive cases and implement recommendations for quarantine, mask wearing, and the notification of close contacts as determined by each family. Teachers will continue to try to reasonably accommodate individual parent requests for reminding children to wear a mask and/or to stay distanced, so please contact your child's teacher if so desired. 

All confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases should be reported to the attendance secretary at your child's school, and clerical staff will be directed to enter a five-day exclusion from the start of symptoms, or from the day the test was taken (if asymptomatic). Students and staff excluded from school for COVID-19 are allowed to return to school after five full days if symptoms have improved and no fever has been present for at least 24 hours without the use of medications. It is strongly recommended that students and staff wear a mask for five additional days from the positive test or the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. (Please see DPI's "Too Sick for School" flier, the updated SDMA COVID-19 Exclusion Protocol, and the SDMA COVID-19 Return to School Criteria for more information). 

The exclusion of symptomatic individuals and anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be the only districtwide COVID-19 mandates left in the SDMA, but the district continues to recommend that families consider the CDC Guidelines for Protecting Yourself & Others with special emphasis on the following:

Hopefully our community is now through the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the school district will continue to monitor local data and respond as needed to any future changes to the recommendations from the health department.

Thank you.

Joe Zydowsky