Giltner Public Schools moves six grades to virtual school after COVID-19 outbreak

Giltner Public Schools
Giltner Public Schools(Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 8:42 PM CDT
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GILTNER, Neb. (KSNB) - Giltner Public Schools will move all students in seventh through 12th grades to virtual school starting on Thursday. The decision came after several students tested positive for COVID-19.

The school became aware of positive cases in seventh and ninth grades last week and quarantined those students then. On Tuesday they also had positive cases in upperclassmen. When working with the Central District Health Department on contact tracing, it became clear that the majority of the student body had contact with the positive cases.

“With the majority of our kids being quarantined at that time based on the requirements from the local health department, we went ahead and quarantined the few that were remaining as well to do online learning," Superintendent Nick Mumm said. "We felt it would be more productive for our students and the staff.”

The school had put a plan in place over the summer in case this situation were to happen. Teachers and staff spent the day on Wednesday refreshing that plan which is to start virtual school on Thursday.

“They’re ready. They planned and had a meeting with the other staff," Mumm said. "Our paras and everybody here, everything is ready to go. All the staff is working real hard and we’re going to start with regular attendance school by Zoom for the 7-12 starting tomorrow morning.”

The school had several safety precautions in place to keep their students safe. That included temperature and symptom checks twice each day, increased cleaning, creating one direction hallways and fogging the building every night. They also recommended, but did not require, their students to wear masks.

“Giltner does not have a mask policy. It’s optional and recommended," Central District Health Department Director Teresa Anderson said. "Sometimes that can drag you down a little bit because if there is a person there who is positive and doesn’t have a mask, then it generally calls for quarantine of the entire classroom.”

While the situation is not ideal, Mumm said they are doing what they believe is best for the students and that they will all get through this together.

“We are going to do what’s best for the students, the staff and the school district," he said. "It’s just what we’re dealing with right now. We’re going to get through this together and continue to educate and do what’s best for all involved safely.”

Students in seventh through ninth grades will return to school on Oct 14. The upperclassmen will return on Oct 21.

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