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September 27, 2021

Covid Update 9/5/2021 – Letters from Mr. Thielman

September 9, 2021
Dear Alsea Parents and Community,

I am writing to all our amazing families, out of an abundance of caution, as both our HS Volleyball Coaches have tested positive for COVID.  So far no student cases among players have been confirmed, but we remain vigilant.
Our Athletic Director has been in contact with all players and households, and each family has been asked to monitor their student for symptoms and seek testing.
This Delta variant behaves differently than its predecessor, and it affects both the vaccinated and unvaccinated as our two coaches represent both realities.
In addition to a different virus, the COVID  protocols for exposure, quarantine, school staff cases vs student cases, in classroom vs outside of classroom, vaccinated and unvaccinated, among other nuances are different in varied degrees from last year.
In support of transparency, Benton County Health has provided the following information to us, with permission to share it with all our stakeholders, in hopes of further equipping us with the knowledge and awareness needed to help keep our students, staff and families safe.
The following is not all inclusive, but I believe it to be the most concise list of criteria I have been given to work with to date. The list is as follows:
Close Contact/Exposure:  A person is considered close contact/exposed if they are within 3-6 feet of a positive case for 15 minutes or more.
Quarantine for siblings in the same home of positive student: would be just like last year unless vaccinated.
All testing should be done with PCRs when possible but if symptomatic can be given a Binex test as well. If symptomatic a PCR should be recommended if the Binex test is negative.

Regarding Unvaccinated: Exposed to a positive or symptomatic person: Quarantine for 14 days, testing at day 5-7 or sooner if symptomatic. If positive test, quarantine turns into isolation and unvaccinated household members, quarantine for 24 days (starting their 14 day quarantine at the end of the positive case’s 10 day isolation).

Vaccinated Staff & Students: Are allowed at school if asymptomatic, we recommend testing immediately, with a PCR not Binex, then test again with a PCR 3-5 days after the positive case’s isolation date. If the initial test was negative then they would be allowed to still attend school.

Close Contact – Students: If the students are identified as close contacts of another student are masked and 3 feet or further apart then they would not have to quarantine unless they become symptomatic or test positive. This 3 feet exception does not include exposure from staff in an indoor classroom setting. If any student or staff meets the criteria of close contact after exposure to a positive staff, the student and/or staff would need to quarantine for 14 days.

Vaccinated Staff: have to meet the following criteria after an exposure from any positive case (adult or student) be asymptomatic and test negative 3-5 days immediately and 3-5 days after exposure.”

Some of this is clear as mud but I am just the messenger:). Please know that each case is handled as it comes and in its own context, no two situations present with an apples to apples comparison.

Working through this pandemic will take all of us working together and supporting each other, and I have tremendous confidence in our school board, staff, administration,  students, parents, families and the Alsea Community during these difficult times.
 
More information and communication will follow.  Until then be COVID conscious and Enjoy the extended weekend.  As always, feel free to email your questions/concerns to me at marc.thielman@alsea.k12.or.us, or text/call me at 509-220-5313.  Go Wolverines!!
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Marc Thielman 
Alsea Superintendent