Following guidance from our local health department, MTSD designed a framework of decision-making factors for assessing the safety of its students and staff by tracking key data points related to the spread and current risk of COVID-19 infection in our area and within our school buildings.
This framework, as well as the district's ability to adjust the framework as new information becomes available, was voted on and approved by the Board of Education during its regular business meeting on Monday, August 17, 2020.
The Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department provides daily and weekly updates to its public dashboard related to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ozaukee County, as well as in Mequon-Thiensville ZIP codes. In alignment with the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department’s COVID-19 Decision-Making Framework for Schools (released August 20, 2020), the community spread of COVID-19 (burden) in Mequon and Thiensville ZIP codes (53092 and 53097) will be tracked (by individual zip code and combined) to inform any shifts across instructional scenarios.
Burden: The total number of positive cases per 100,000 residents in the past two weeks
The health, or current status, of our local burden will be tracked over a two week period (14 consecutive days) and indicated with a health rating of critical, high, moderate, or low.
Per the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department’s COVID-19 Decision-Making Framework for Schools, the health department recommends a virtual learning model for all students when a COVID-19 burden reaches greater than or equal to 350 cases per 100,000 people, or becomes critical. The framework also indicates that metrics should be evaluated at two week increments.
The following decision framework provides the thresholds for shifting across instructional scenarios in MTSD:
Decisions related to shifting across instructional scenarios will not be based solely on this data point. Through collaboration with the public health department, additional context will be used to inform decision-making.
The above thresholds were developed with input from our local and state health departments. Any time new information is shared, the district will adjust to maintain alignment with such input and recommendations
During an active pandemic, we anticipate a greater likelihood of absences by our regular employees along with the potential for the more limited availability of substitute staff members. Additionally, student absence due to illness will likely increase. To ensure our ability to provide adequate student supervision at a minimum and effective learning opportunities for our students in our preferred state, we will monitor employee and student attendance on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Further, daily communication between the district and its contracted service partners ensures that all staff needed to support on campus learning are available as well. Monitoring the availability of our contracted services employees includes tracking trends that will help identify the need to enact contingency plans.
MTSD has constructed a dashboard to reflect COVID-19 data from the Mequon and Thiensville zip codes (53092 and 53097) over a two-week period that impact our ability to shift across instructional scenarios. If data associated with the community spread of COVID-19 improves, the school district stands ready to immediately shift into providing both on campus and distance learning options to families. The dashboard has been constructed using data from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Washington Ozaukee Health Department.