Superintendent: School breaks lead to dramatic rises in Logan County COVID cases

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are now in the final days of the Fall semester.  I’ve said this often but I’m not sure any of us thought we would be continuing in-person instruction five days per week at this point. 

Most of us look with anticipation to the end of 2020 and hope 2021 brings us much better fortune.  We look forward to a well needed break but I’ve learned changing behavior cannot occur instantly.  Every break from school has coincided with a dramatic rise in COVID cases in Logan County following the standard 5-7 day incubation period.  I’ve learned this virus is unpredictable and didn’t go away following Election Day as some suggested would happen.  The break from instruction will be 16 days that provide an opportunity for less rigid protocols than we employ at school.  The break also comes at a time when our hospitals are full due to the more severe cases of COVID.  The next few months are critical if we want to slow the spread in our community. 

We have begun winter sports and indoor performances of our fine arts programs.  I want to re-emphasize the protocols in place for those events.  Attendance will be limited to 25% capacity of the venue.  In many cases, specific seating areas will be blocked off for the safety of everyone.  Please observe the directions and refrain from occupying those seats.  Also, any spectators at an indoor school sponsored event (even if held off-campus) will be required to wear a face covering that completely covers the mouth and nose.  Failure to comply with that condition could lead to staff asking the visitor to leave the premises.  These protocols are in place for the safety of all in attendance.  Our goal is to have our students display their talents in a safe environment.  Please remember the alternative is to continue without spectators as some school districts have already done.

Many of you have taken advantage of the testing hub located at Cotteral Elementary.  They are planning to be open over the Winter break.  The dates and hours of operation will be released later this week.  This center operates without an appointment and families of GPS students or staff as well as City of Guthrie employees and Logan County first responders can get a COVID test as well as be tested for Strep or the Flu.  This is an easy way to diagnose symptoms and you can leave the site with a prescription if needed.  Thankfully, many families and first responders have utilized this site without disruption of classes at Cotteral Elementary.

With all of the talk about COVID, I almost forgot to mention, we have had a GREAT Fall semester.  I’ve watched our staff do amazing things to bring our students back from the loss of instruction last Spring.  The faculty continues to show how much they care for our students during the most trying time of our careers.  I’m also excited for the future as we have been forced to use distance learning during this semester.  We will never place it above in-person instruction but growing into a district that can shift allows us much greater flexibility to continue learning when challenges beyond our control enter our lives.  As we prepare for a holiday season that will surely be different than any in the past, please take a deep breath and focus on what you have this year and the many blessings we might not have noticed in a pre-COVID time.  Happy Holidays from GPS!  


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