By Joe Morey
LCO Ojibwe School Superintendent, Jessica “Hutch” Hutchison, released new Covid protocols this week for the upcoming school year, which include following CDC guidelines and recommendations. The new protocols were recently approved by the LCO Tribal Governing Board which acts as the school board.
“As has been the practice over the course of the entire pandemic, scientific data and local conditions will guide Covid-19 related decision making at the school level,” Hutch states. “The CDC and DHS recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status. The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School will follow this guidance until community risk levels return to the GREEN status.”
The green status for an area states there is only one Covid case per 100,000 people.
The LCO Ojibwe School policy states masking will be required for all students, staff and guests regardless of community risk level while on buses and school transportation, per federal regulations; In hallways during passing times; and in large group settings (assemblies, indoor powwows).
The Hayward School Superintendent, Craig Olson, stated at a school board meeting in early August that the Hayward district will recommend, but not require masking. He said they will utilize social distancing at a 3-foot distance in classrooms.
Both Hayward and LCO schools will hold 5-day in-person classes with no virtual option this year. Olson said, “Our experience in Hayward was that virtual students don’t do well, but if the pandemic worsens during the coming year, all students will be taught virtually during that time.”
Hutch said the LCO Ojibwe School is strongly recommending vaccinations for staff and any student 12 and over. She said staff that are required to quarantine or isolate per public health orders will be required to use Personal Time Off.
Olson said the Hayward District is not requiring vaccinations.
In regards to visitors, Hayward said they are not allowed except for parents, who must check into the office before seeing their child or taking their child out of school, and except for screened volunteers who work in the school buildings.
At LCO School, visitors will be required to provide contact information when signing in for the purposes of contact tracing, if on campus for 15 minutes or more. Visitors will also be required to mask while in the building.
Testing at LCO Ojbwe School will be available on site for SYMPTOMATIC students and staff only. All other testing (close contacts) will be directed to the LCO Health Center.
LCO School students identified as a close contact-within 3 feet or less for 15 minutes or more- will be required to quarantine for 10 days from the date of contact if unvaccinated. If a quarantined staff member has a negative test after day 6, they can return to work with symptom monitoring for the full 10 days.