COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Yesterday Governor Ricketts along with state education leaders, state and local health officials shared information related to the Coronavirus and how it may affect Nebraska schools going forward.

The Governor has clearly differentiated between confirmed cases of the virus that are traceable, meaning we can trace its origin back to travel or a specific contact, and community-based, implying they just caught it somewhere in the local community and its origin can't trace it. So if someone is confirmed with the virus, the health department is notified, they determine if they can trace it or not, if they can not trace its origin, then it is deemed community-based and school closures will take place. A community-based transmission would also be a reason for all schools that are in the same Educational Service Unit to close for 6 to 8 weeks. Blue Hill Schools is in Education Service Unit #9 which includes the following school districts Adams Central, Aurora, Doniphan-Trumbull, Giltner, Hampton, Harvard, Hastings Public, Kenesaw, Red Cloud, Lawrence-Nelson, Sandy Creek, Silver Lake, Superior, and Sutton.

At this time, none of the schools in Nebraska that have closed have fit this definition of a confirmed community-based case of the virus. They are also supporting schools for closing with a lower standard of concern but would like to see some sort of justification for a closure. In other words, if Blue Hill Schools found it necessary we could make a decision to close.

At this point, we are confident that our students are as safe at school as they are at home.  Healthy student age children are the least susceptible to the virus at this point. We are doing what we can to clean surfaces and contain germs on a daily basis.  We want all students to attend daily but many large group events, locally and statewide, are being canceled and we will make decisions about public events as they occur.

Finally, I want to mention how much we as school administration feel for our students who are being asked to sacrifice so many once in a lifetime events for the greater good.  Events like district and state speech contest, state events for FFA and FBLA, field trips, and our New York trip to name some. This whole Coronavirus event is unprecedented for schools and really for all of us in making these kinds of decisions.  Thank you so much for your understanding and partnership during this time.

Joél Ruybalid