Stephenson board meeting

Superintendent Carrie Stephenson, left, provides an update to the school board during the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Olathe Middle/High School has had two separate COVID-19 instances this week, which has led to 24 students at Olathe Middle School having to quarantine.

Olathe Middle/High School welcomed students and staff back 100% in-person on Jan. 5. A week later on Tuesday, Jan. 12 the Montrose County School District COVID-19 Response Team (CRT) received confirmation of one Olathe Middle School student testing positive for the virus. As a result of contact tracing, CRT determined 12 OMS students needed to quarantine and will be offered free testing, according to a school-issued press release.

An identical COVID-19 case also occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

“As a result of one Olathe Middle School student testing positive for COVID, 12 students at Olathe Middle School need to quarantine and will be offered free COVID testing,” Wednesday’s press release states.

Both releases were shared to the school’s Facebook page and caused some confusion about whether or not there were two separate cases. The school confirmed they are separate incidents.

There are currently 217 students and 32 staff members (a total of 249 people) across the district who are in quarantine as of the Jan. 13 MCSD update. The district has received confirmation that six staff and 17 students have tested positive for the virus in the past seven days.

During the Tuesday board of education meeting, Superintendent Carrie Stephenson reported that OMHS students looked happy to be learning on campus. She also said the campus size has helped with social distancing.

“We do have some space because Olathe is so small that they are able to spread out for lunches and things like that so that is going really well,” she said.

Montrose County Public Health is also reporting an increase in COVID-19 positive cases, with an influx of 64 cases since Jan. 12 based on a Jan. 13 update. MCPH reported 64 positive cases Wednesday.

“There has been an increase in cases associated with outbreak locations and overall community spread,” MCPH said in a community update.

The county is currently seeing an upward trend in COVID-19 case counts, which has increased the two-week percent positivity rate to 19.5%. The percent positivity is defined as the percent of tests that come back positive, out of the total number of tests performed.

Under the current COVID-19 dial of Safer at Home, the percent positivity rate (PPR) can be no greater than 15% with cases less than 175-350 within a population of 100,000 over two weeks. Montrose County’s PPR of 19.5% indicates cases in the range of 74-150 per 42,758 people in the past two weeks, which exceeds the limits of the dial classification. The county is also approaching its limits for COVID-19 hospitalizations.

With this influx in the county, MCSD leadership, school board members and those in attendance at Tuesday’s board meeting adorned face coverings. Social distancing measures also continued.

During her superintendent’s report, Stephenson said the district is working to welcome all students back to 100% in-person learning.

“We are waiting for our metrics to go down to bring everyone else back,” Stephenson said. “As you know, we’ve seen a spike in the community and so we are really buckling down. We hope the community is also doing the same so we can get our local conditions down so we can bring the rest of our kids back.”

Lauren Brant is a staff writer and digital content coordinator for the Montrose Daily Press.

Load comments