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Staley students to learn virtually Tuesday, Wednesday due to spike in COVID-19 cases

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Posted at 9:25 AM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 10:43:14-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the second week in a row, Staley High School in the North Kansas City School District will switch to virtual learning for two days this week.

The school cited a continued rise in COVID-19 cases within the building, causing them to go virtual Tuesday and Wednesday. Last week, the school closed Thursday and Friday for cleaning.

The case rate over a two-week span, the rate of cases and the school rate compared to the community rate of cases all led to the decision to learn online.

Staley officials said there were 27 COVID-19 cases within the building in the last two weeks and there is a positivity rate within the school that is more than double that of the community.

The two days of virtual learning will allow for deep cleaning.

The school is in a hybrid learning model, so Wednesdays are normally virtual learning days.

As of now, students will return to school on Thursday.

The full letter to parents is below:

Dear Staley families,

While we’ve experienced one shift to virtual learning already, COVID cases in our building have continued to rise. Today, alone, we experienced six positive cases, thankfully with no known exposures. Utilizing the Clay County Health Department’s Interim Return to School Guidance, the decision has been made for Tuesday, November 17 and Wednesday, November 18 to be virtual learning days for Staley High School.

Three data points warranting this temporary closure include:

  • Case rate over a 14-day span
  • The slope of the trend line representing cases
  • School rate of positive cases versus community rate of positive cases

The most recent 14-day span at Staley entails twenty-seven cases. This figure includes six additional cases with no one exposed today. The slope of the trend line (2.14) is increasing, as opposed to steady or decreasing. The school rate of positive cases (1.38%) is more than double that of the community case rate.

Given this data, a 24-48 hour school closure is recommended to allow time for deep cleaning, distancing of students and staff and continued monitoring of cases and exposures. Deeming Tuesday a virtual day, along with the scheduled virtual learning day on Wednesday, allows for the building to be free of most school personnel and students Tuesday through Wednesday to further mitigate risk. It will also impact a different set of students as compared with our first closure. Based on the data above, a closure beyond this timeframe was not recommended by the Health Department.

You might have specific questions about this change of practice. What follows are some of the things we’ve accounted for thus far. Don’t hesitate to reach out for further information. Virtual learning will continue for all students. Drive-by meal distribution will continue at Staley throughout the week between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Reach out to our administrative team if you have further questions.

NKC Schools will continue to work in partnership with the Health Department, assessing information to make the best decisions possible for staff and families. We pledge to share what we know, when we know it. In the meantime, let’s all commit to the best practices we know will prevent the spread of COVID-19: wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, practicing social distancing whenever possible and staying home if sick. We would all prefer this shift to virtual learning be temporary. If we cannot get curb high numbers of positive cases, longer closures may be imminent. What happens in the next several weeks is definitely within our control. We can, and will, overcome this challenge together, and we look forward to welcoming our students back on Thursday.