SDMA COVID-19 Update and Family Survey

SDMA COVID-19 Update and Family Survey
Posted on 03/24/2021

Dear SDMA Families and Staff,

Planning is well underway for the 2021-2022 school year. To help inform the planning process, the SDMA is asking all families to respond to this short survey by Friday, April 2.

The SDMA is planning to offer two instructional delivery models during the 2021-2022 school year for all K-12 students:

  • IN-PERSON LEARNING- Schools continue to operate at full capacity with risk management strategies in place for infection control and mitigation. Depending on the COVID-19 activity levels within the local community, the SDMA may also implement blended or safer-at-home learning models for the in-person learning group as needed during the 2021-2022 school year.
  • FULL-TIME VIRTUAL LEARNING- For families who choose NOT to have their child(ren) attend school for any in-person learning. Students will be committed to a semester/trimester-long virtual school option if they choose not to attend in-person learning for COVID-related concerns and/or medical reasons. Instruction in grades K-8 will be provided by SDMA faculty similar to the Safer-at-Home experience utilized at the end of the first semester. Students in grades 9-12 will be provided virtual instruction through the Wisconsin Virtual School (WVS).  

There are many unknowns as to how the pandemic will impact the 2021-2022 school year, but to assist with answering this survey, please assume the following to be in place when school begins on September 1:

  • All individuals 16 years of age and older will have had the opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccination should they choose to do so.
  • Continued COVID-19 mitigation measures to be in place as recommended by the Dunn County Health Department and approved by the SDMA Board of Education. It is unknown as to what mitigation measures will be needed next fall, but the most recent CDC recommendations include the use of cloth face coverings and at least 3 feet of physical distancing in classrooms.

Thank you for your time and for completing this survey by Friday, April 2.

Wisconsin COVID-19 Update
According to the Department of Health Services website, the 7-day average in Wisconsin for new cases is 452 today (up from 388 last report) and percent positivity is 2.5% today (up from 2.1% last report). 

Dunn County COVID-19 Data Update
According to Monday's update on the Dunn County Facebook page, there are currently 37 active cases in Dunn County and 1 person hospitalized due to COVID-19 (40 and 1 last report). The burden level in Dunn County (121) is currently listed as "High" with a stable trajectory, and the percent positivity is low (3.4%). The COVID-19 vaccine series has been completed by 5,266 Dunn County residents- 11.6% of the county population (up from 2,958/6.5% last report). According to CDC recommendations, some restrictions can be relaxed for fully vaccinated people two weeks after receiving the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Most SDMA staff members will reach this level of immunity by the middle of April.

SDMA Student COVID-19 Data
Two of the newly reported confirmed COVID-19 cases in Dunn County over the past two weeks have been students enrolled in the SDMA. With 2,833 students participating in the in-person instructional model for the second semester, the SDMA currently has 1 active student case- 0.04% [down from 6 active cases (0.21%) last report]. The breakdown of active student cases includes:

  • Menomonie High School-     0 (down from 1 last report) 
  • Menomonie Middle School-  0 (down from 3 last report) 
  • Menomonie Elem. Schools-  1 (same as 1 last report) 
  • Menomonie 4K-                     0 (down from 1 last report)

Today, 1.59% of the students in the SDMA were excluded from school due to close contacts, symptoms, or other COVID-19 concerns (down from 2.29% last report). The 7-day average for student exclusions across the SDMA is 1.88% (down from 2.24% last report). 

The current breakdown of SDMA student exclusions includes:

  • Menomonie High School-      1.32% (down from 1.64% last report)
  • Menomonie Middle School-   0.69% (down from 3.45% last report)
  • Wakanda Elementary-           2.92%  (up from 1.17% last report)
  • River Heights Elementary-     3.12%  (up from 1.70% last report)
  • Oaklawn Elementary-            1.58%  (up as 0.32% last report)
  • Knapp Elementary-                2.44%  (same as 2.44% last report)
  • Downsville Elementary-         0.00%  (same as 0.00% last report)
  • Menomonie 4K*-                    0.61%  (down from 10.30% last report)

SDMA Staff COVID-19 Data
There has not been a reported case of COVID-19 by SDMA staff since the beginning of February, so there are "0" active COVID-19 cases with SDMA staff. Today, 0.53% of the 565 district staff members were excluded from work for COVID-19 reasons (same as 0.53% last report). The 7-day average for staff exclusions across the SDMA is 0.61% (down from 0.71% last report). 

New CDC Recommendations
The CDC has updated guidance for schools which allows for the possibility of distancing in classrooms to be reduced to 3 feet. According to the CDC, "Consistent with recommendations from WHO and the American Academy of Pediatrics, using a distance of at least 3 feet between students in classrooms could provide a feasible definition of physical distancing so long as other prevention measures are maximized. These include mask requirements for both students and staff, maintaining healthy facilities such as improved ventilation, frequent hand hygiene, and encouraging students and staff to stay home when they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has known or suspected COVID-19." Because of there are potential benefits for greater distancing, and because the state DHS plans to continue using the restrictive definition for close contacts which includes quarantining anyone within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more over a 24 hour period, the SDMA will continue to strive for 6 feet of distancing in classrooms as much as possible to limit the number of student exclusions due to potential COVID-19 exposure.

Hopefully the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is already behind us, but it is critical that we all stay vigilant for a little while longer. Please continue to avoid unnecessary gatherings, Wash Up, Mask Up, and Back Up to reduce the likelihood of needing to quarantine or isolate due to a COVID-19 exposure. Also, if you, or anyone in your family has been exposed to COVID-19 and/or is experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, please get tested, stay home, and help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community.


Joe Zydowsky