District Covid Numbers are Up (As if You Didn’t Know)
Update January 8: Weston Public Schools published district numbers for the week ending January 7. Numbers for the week are higher than those published by DESE, and for a shorter time period. Thursday must have been an ugly day in diagnostics. Weston’s numbers can be found here or by screenshot below:
Numbers published Wednesday January 5 by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) show Weston public schools with 81 students and 35 staff testing positive for Covid in the last 14 days (12/23-1/5). The data are reported by the district to DESE. Weston Public School’s own Covid dashboard is updated on a weekly basis, with the next update coming today (though the snow day may affect that). Note that the most recent numbers are for a two week period rather than the usual one week.
In the two weeks before winter break, DESE-reported numbers were much lower, though the final week before December break (week ending 12/24) shows 0 cases for both students and staff so it’s unclear if numbers were not reported, or if we indeed had zero cases that week. Since Weston’s dashboard shows a total of 24 cases for the week ending 12/23, they must not have been reported to DESE, or were not received.
The numbers do not necessarily capture all cases of Covid in the school system. Testing is not mandatory, except for high school athletes. Both owlets are athletes and test. The Owl got confirmation of how testing is done from Jamy Gaynor, Director of Health Services, who is one of the Owl’s favorite people ever both because she is highly communicative (no question unanswered) and detailed in responses. The Owl reached out after receiving an email from CIC Health stating that an owlet was negative for Covid.
“The notification you received was the result obtained with follow-up testing that is performed when a student is identified as belonging to a positive pool. We currently group students in pools of 5. When a positive pool is identified, follow-up rapid antigen testing is performed on all students identified as belonging to the positive pool. This enables us to isolate the positive individual while allowing the other students to remain in school, unless they are identified as close contacts. We do not send out individual communications for positive pools in real time, we do send out communications for positive students and identified close contacts. Positive pools are noted on the weekly COVID dashboard.”
Imagine how much work is being done behind the scenes at our schools just to keep the classrooms going–really an incredible organizational tightrope of testing and communicating. The Owl wishes the entire health care team a happy snow day as well. Here’s hoping you can sled off some of those worries.