Schools strive to maintain COVID safety as cases rise

(WKBT) — Schools are back in session. And so is COVID-19.

“We certainly have some students who have tested positive and reported their status to us today,” said Matt Meyers, safety and student services director for the Holmen School District.

In Eau Claire, 450 to 800 students were out on quarantine, said Kaying Xiong, executive director of student services for the Eau Claire School District.

Schools statewide are continuing safe COVID protocols and trying to mitigate the chances a student who contracted this virus over break spreads it at school.

“Probably just being much more diligent about making sure masks are being worn correctly and consistently,” Xiong said.

Districts are also contact tracing.

“Bring us back a negative test or show a negative test before you’re able to return to school,” Meyers said.

Holding vaccine drives.

“We have one tonight that’s the second dose at one of our high schools,” Dr. Xiong said.

Offering on-site testing.

“That testing site is specifically designed for school district of Holmen. Students, families, and staff members,” Meyers said.

And requiring students who test positive to quarantine.

“And require some quarantine based on their personal situations in regards to COVID,” Meyers said.

COVID cases are on the rise for children. Pediatric COVID hospitalizations have increased by 66% according to the CDC. Gundersen Health System expects to see an increase in COVID cases in next few weeks.

“We want you to get tested and follow guidance from public health officials to keep everyone safe,” Meyers said.

But schools plan on staying in session. The Eau Claire District will test unvaccinated students who have come in close contact with someone at school every day.

“So that we’re not putting more kids out of the classroom,” Dr. Xiong said.

The Holmen School District hopes its current prevention measures, including masking, will be enough to protect students.

“Currently all these mitigations strategies are designed so that doesn’t have to happen to us,” Meyers said.

Because the goal of these both districts is to keep kids in class.

The School District of Winona sent students home with a rapid test before break in hopes they’d use it before returning today.

The West Salem School District says it will follow the CDC and use shortened quarantine guidelines for staff. West Salem no longer offers rapid tests for its students.