School district COVID rate continues to decline
By Olivia DeValk
STEVENS POINT – With a vaccination clinic for staff just around the corner, the COVID case rate continues to decline in the Stevens Point Area School District.
The decline in case rates was reported at the board meeting on March 8.
“Frankly as difficult as this is, we’re ahead of the game.” said Superintendent Craig Gerlach. “Our operational capacity continues to be going well. We’re getting kids to school, we’re feeding them, and we’re able to staff our buildings – which is all good.”
The decline in the school district is corresponding with declining cases across the state and county. On Feb. 8, the district had 27 cases per 100,000, as of March 8 that number was down to 12.
For comparison, Portage County had 26 cases per 100,000 on Feb. 8 and that number is down to seven. Similarly, the state went from 21 cases per 100,000 to nine.
For active cases, there are currently two students and one staff member who tested positive for COVID and 75 students and 10 staff members in quarantine.
The Sisters of St. Joseph’s convent have offered to host the staff vaccination clinic at the convent.
Although some staff members have already received vaccinations on their own; there are currently 490 staff indicating interest in being vaccinated at the clinic.
The board is looking to do the second round of vaccinations the week of April 12.
The district says the staff vaccinations are an extra safety net, as middle and high school students head back to school four days a week beginning April 5.
The plan for students to go back to school was announced at a special board meeting on Feb. 22. Since then the board has continued to look for ways to make the return as safe for students as possible. They say biggest obstacle to a safe return has been the lunchroom spaces, as students are not be able to wear masks during lunch.
All secondary schools are looking into expanding their lunchroom spaces into other parts of the school, including gymnasiums, so students can distance as much as possible.