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LPS acknowledges more timely communication needed, shares positivity rates

LPS updated pandemic plans and procedures
LPS updated pandemic plans and procedures(Lincoln Public Schools)
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:05 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:15 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Lincoln Public Schools sent a letter to parents on Friday noting the Red Risk Dial policy change. Since June, the Lincoln Public Schools website has outlined pandemic procedures saying if the COVID-19 Risk Dial were Red (Severe), the school would go 100 percent remote. Now, that’s not the case.

“If the Lincoln-Lancaster County risk status moves to Red – Severe, Lincoln Public Schools will work collaboratively with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to implement plans and protocols that address the areas of concern in our community and schools. We will follow recommendations from the health department on how schools can respond effectively and allow teaching and learning to continue while reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Lincoln Public Schools

The email also acknowledged that a more timely direct email should have been sent out when they updated the policy on their website earlier this week, frustrating some parents.

Since Aug. 12, more than 2 percent of LPS staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

LPS COVID rates:

Students: 213 or 0.64% of pop. (1-in-156)

Staff: 134 or 2.03% of pop. (1-in-49)

Total: 347 or 0.87% of pop. (1-in-115)”

State COVID-19 rates:

Lancaster County: 8,668 (population: 319,000) = 2.72%

Nebraska: 61,285 (population: 1,930,000) = 3.18%

Below is a copy of the email sent to LPS Families:

LPS Families,

On Tuesday as part of our regular website update, we revised our COVID page to reflect a more accurate description of the Lincoln Public Schools pandemic plan if the Lincoln/Lancaster County COVID-19 risk dial moves into Red. This update matches our public announcement at the Lincoln Board of Education meeting on September 22. The website is just one of many communications tools we utilize. We acknowledge that a more timely direct email in addition to the weekly Tuesday updates to our website needs to occur.

From the beginning of this pandemic, we have worked collaboratively with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to develop and modify plans for school operations. We have learned a great deal since the beginning of the pandemic. While our initial plans were based on the information we were aware of this summer, nine weeks of school has taught us and the health department that our safety protocols are working to reduce the risk of spread. Our staff and students are doing an exceptional job following protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Below is more information about the weekly positive cases in Lincoln Public Schools. We are going to continue to look into what information we can provide on the website dashboard without violating confidentiality and privacy.

LPS sent a letter to parents noting Red Risk Dial policy change and noting local COVID-19 rates.
LPS sent a letter to parents noting Red Risk Dial policy change and noting local COVID-19 rates.(Lincoln Public Schools)

The health department and the LPS medical advisory board agrees - having students and staff in school is proving to be the safest option for our community during the pandemic.

We want to be clear, at this time if the Lincoln-Lancaster County risk status moves to Red – Severe, Lincoln Public Schools will continue to work collaboratively with the health department to implement plans and protocols that address the areas of concern in our community and schools. We will follow recommendations and protocols from the health department on how schools can respond effectively to reduce the spread while allowing teaching and learning to continue.

We understand that anxiety is high and there is much we still don’t know or understand. When information is being shared daily, it can be overwhelming. We will do our best to work through this together as a community to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and continue supporting our students and their families.

Steve Joel

Superintendent

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