COVID-19 Situation Monitoring
The district is prepared to implement additional COVID-19 mitigation strategies if BOTH the community transmission and local transmission indicators are met in a school building:
- Community Transmission Indicator: If the Westonka area is experiencing High Transmission (100 or more cases per 100,000 people), as defined by the CDC.
- School Transmission Indicator: If there is evidence of transmission in the school building (based on percent absent with COVID-19 or COVID-like illness).
This process will be reviewed when children under the age of 12 have the choice of being vaccinated.
Community Transmission Indicator
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) advises schools to use the CDC's metric for community transmission rate (7-day case average per 100,000 residents) to inform their decisions. The District COVID-19 Support Team monitors the Minnesota School Opening Statistics Dashboard for four main reasons:
- It is a credible source (managed by Julian Wolfson, Ph.D., from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health) that compiles data from MDH.
- It provides the 7-day case rate per 100,000 (recommended metric by MDH and CDC).
- It is specific to the Westonka School District by zip code (55331, 55359, 55364, 55384 and 55391).
- It includes the most current data available.
The Support Team also continues to use the 14-day case rates per 10,000 residents for Hennepin County and W/S Suburban Hennepin County, which are provided weekly by Hennepin County Public Health, to monitor transmission more broadly.
The community transmission indicator will be communicated weekly on the COVID-19 Dashboard (slides 2-5).
School Transmission Indicator
To monitor school transmission, the District COVID-19 Support Team looks at the percent of students/staff who are absent with COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms (display 1 of the more common COVID symptoms or 2 of the less common COVID symptoms). Those displaying COVID-like symptoms will not be counted in the school transmission numbers until the Health Services Department can rule out chronic allergies and other illnesses via family interview, alternative diagnosis, negative test result, etc.
For grades K-7, if school transmission rises above 3%, the District COVID-19 Support Team will meet to discuss the potential implementation of additional mitigation strategies in that building. Next steps may include:
- no changes to mitigation strategies but continued monitoring,
- required masking in the building for at least 14 days,
- required quarantine periods for classrooms and/or close contacts, or
- other strategies as needed.
For grades K-12, if school transmission rises above 5%, the District COVID-19 Support Team will consult with MDH to determine next steps. Action steps could include continuing with in-person learning with required masking and other mitigation strategies in place, or a learning model change.
School transmission indicators will be applied at the building level, and it is possible that one building will have different mitigation strategies than others. School transmission will be reported weekly on the COVID-19 Dashboard (updated end-of-day Wednesday).
Important note: The district is prepared to implement additional mitigation strategies at any time, especially if there is evidence of significant transmission in a particular school, classroom or program.