As Jefferson County re-enters ‘red zone’ De Soto schools transition to hybrid learning

Missouri

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. – Jefferson County re-entered the ‘red zone’ which signifies that there is “a lot of uncontrolled spread in the community,” according to Jefferson County Health Department Director Kelley Vollmar.

“We entered the red zone again due to the amount of cases that we had last week, we had about 503 cases over the course of last week, which is about 100 more than we’d seen any week prior to this,” she said.

This is the first time 5 indicators have been in the red at one time. The indicators in red for the week of Sept 13-19 are:

  • 7 day rolling average case per day/100,000 residents = 31.94 (25 is the threshold to enter red status
  • New cases per 100,000/week =223.56
  • Percent change in new cases per week = 73.3%
  • Percent positive = 15.6%
  • Change in percent test positive = 5.62%

Vollmar said she plans to ask the board Thursday to schedule a special session to discuss mitigating efforts for the county since they have reached the red status again.

A board meeting is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

During August’s board meeting, a mask mandate was voted into place, but then revoked the next day. Vollmar said there are no plans to discuss a mask mandate during Thursday’s board meeting but instead ask to schedule a special session.

More than 1,000 Jefferson County residents are in quarantine due to COVID-19.

With more people testing positive and more in quarantine, it has made it difficult to ensure the De Soto School District has enough staff to keep its school operations going daily. Tuesday night, the school board approved changing their learning model to hybrid. This means students will attend virtual school 1 day a week and be in the classroom for the other 4 days.

“We believe that by going down to four days on site a week and one off, it’ll allow us to take extra time on the contact tracing that comes in over the weekend,” DeSoto Superintendent Josh Isaacson said.

Vollmar said the school district has been well prepared and easy to work with in regards to contact tracing.

De Soto’s varsity and junior varsity football teams canceled football games due to a player’s positive test. After their game at Festus Friday, one player tested positive, which sent 24 players into quarantine. For a varsity and junior varsity roster of about 70 players, that meant having to put kickoffs on hold.

“As a result of that quarantine, we were not able to continue with our varsity football squad, as well as our junior varsity football squad,” Isaacson said. “We’ve canceled our events for the next two weeks in terms of football games, and look forward to resuming our homecoming activities.”

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