Tri-City United Schools, like every school district in the state, had to make a decision as to how the school year would open when students started coming back on Tuesday, Sept. 8. After looking at the data, getting input from staff and administration, the school board opted to use a hybrid model.

The district has remained in the hybrid model for the first six weeks of the school year. We have been and will continue to work diligently to provide an environment that has a low risk for infection and spread of any illness, but in particular COVID-19. The safety of our students and staff is our first priority in our planning. In order to be transparent with our district residents, I would like to share some data, which I refer to as our COVID-19 Current Reality. This data is based on cases involving all students and school district employees. It covers from Sept. 8, which was the first day of school for some of our students through 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

There have been nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 during that time in Tri-City United Schools. Approximately half of those cases have completed their isolation and have returned to school or work.

• Individuals that were identified as close contacts were quarantined to limit the spread of infection.

• The district currently has 43 individuals quarantining due to being close contacts to a confirmed case. This could be from any confirmed case, not just TCU cases.

• There has been one full classroom quarantined and one activity impacted by exposure.

• On any given day, we have staff and students out waiting on test results due to reported symptoms or because they are family members of individuals waiting on test results. (Not usually looking for negative results, but in this case we are).

I haven’t seen data from other school districts, but based on conversations had with other district administrators the TCU numbers are below average. This is one time being below average is a positive.

This may prompt the question, “What does the school board use to determine whether to change learning models?”

TCU school board members will look at the Le Sueur County case number that comes out each Thursday, recent daily county case number trends, general health of the district buildings like the data from above along with student and staff absences related to other illnesses, and administrative team input. All of this is taken into consideration prior to making any changes to our learning model.

Lastly, parents have clearly expressed they want our students in school with the opportunity to participate in athletics/activities. The TCU school staff wants the same thing for our students and families. I ask all district residents to show their support of our Tri-City United Titan students by following the safety protocols that include social distancing, use of masks or face coverings, and using proper hand washing procedures. Our students and staff are counting on you to keep them in our schools.

Thank you and go Titans!

Lonnie Seifert the superintendent of Tri-City United Schools. Reach him at lseifert@tcu2905.us or 507-364-8101.

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