GIPS sees no community spread on campuses, continues with precautions

Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - City leaders held a briefing on Tuesday to update the community on their COVID-19 efforts. Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover was one of the many speakers at the event and she said she’s really proud of their work to prevent spread in the schools.

“We have established priorities in order to safely serve our students,” she read from a prepared statement. “We understood how important it was to make sure that when we put protocols in place, we were able to check on them to see how it is working out in our schools. We created a COVID Check for Implementation team and we found that our staff and our students are doing an amazing job while they’re at school."

Dr. Grover said GIPS has not had any cases of community spread on their campuses, but that students and teachers have been quarantined for exposure at outside events. The only reason they would need to shut down again, according to Dr. Grover, would be if too many staff members are quarantined and they can’t function.

“We must understand the impact of community spread on our ability to keep our schools open," she said. "Since the beginning of school, we’ve had to quarantine 105 staff. That means a total of 1,050 days were missed. None of these exposures can be traced to the school.”

She went on to read how proud she was of the students for how well they had followed precautions put into place, including the mask mandates in all buildings.

“Our students are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that school stays open," Dr. Grover said. "Students are so cooperative with their masks and other protocols because it means so much to them that they are back in school with their friends.”

Slowing the spread of the virus and keeping schools opened is a top priority right now and community members are urged to do their part to help.

“The goal of the Health Department is to reduce the number of cases and keep it at a minimum,” Central District Health Department Director Teresa Anderson said at the briefing. “We want the schools to stay in session and that’s really been our focus since schools came on board. We really want those kiddos to stay in school. Our plea right now is that regardless of what you do or where you go if you wear that mask, you reduce that risk of our schools needing to be closed.”

“In the spring, we were strong. We were unified. We came together,” Dr. Grover urged the community to work together. “We had a sense of urgency for taking care of each other. We even had a mantra that we are better and stronger together. Isn’t that true now?”

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