Yuma-1 COVID cases, but also good news

Some Yuma High School students are in quarantine after cases of COVID-19 arose in the school over the past week.
Yuma School District-1 announced the first case last Thursday, November 12, announced two more cases Monday, and a fourth on Tuesday. It announced three more confirmed cases on Thursday, November 19, one in the YHS community and two in the Morris Elementary School community.
A total of 77 students (roughly 30 percent of the YHS student body), and a few staff members, were in quarantine through at least the Thanksgiving break, doing remote learning, as of earlier this week.

Superintendent Dianna Chrisman explained the situation, and other COVID-related news, Monday night during the Yuma-1 Board of Education’s regular monthly meeting.
The schools now are able to be more precise in who has to quarantine. Only those who spend more than 15 minutes within six feet of an infected person are required to quarantine. Others in the same classroom do not since everyone wears a mask.
Chrisman said superintendents recently met with epidemiologist from the Governor’s Office to discuss a school-specific study.
The study’s results show that schools still are considered safe. It showed there is not a lot of transmission within elementary students, that it goes up a bit in middle school, increases more in high school and with staff-to-staff transmission.
The ability to strictly cohort elementary students is credited for the low transmission rate. Cohorting becomes more difficult as students get older and go to different classes.
The study also connected outbreaks to gatherings outside of school, and then the infected people bringing it to the schools.
Chrisman said schools remain considered “essential.” That means if the state was to shutdown among rising cases, whether or not schools remain open will be left to local control.
The superintendent said staff is making sure everyone remains vigilant, adding that what the district has been doing is working.
An antigen test is being made available to school districts, with those tests geared toward staff. The result is known within 15 minutes. Chrisman said she would be in charge with the testing, and currently is in discussions with Yuma District Hospital & Clinics and Northeast Colorado Health Department to figure out how to handle the testing. She said she is still getting more information, but implementing the antigen tests for staff would be a good idea.
Yuma-1 has been allowing mask-wearing open gyms at YHS, and now has started it at YMS on just one day per week, with just the junior high coaches involved. “The kids are craving activities,” Chrisman said. “Right now we’re trying to find the right balance.”
She said CHSAA will be making an announcement for Season B — basketball and wrestling — on December 1. The early indication, though, is masks will have to be worn while playing, and there will be extra timeouts. CHSAA is working with the state for variances on indoor sports. If variances are not granted it will result in low numbers being allowed in the gym.