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LCO Ojibwe School Returns to Class Following Positive Covid Case

By Joe Morey

News Editor


LCO Ojibwe School Superintendent Jessica Hutchison issued a follow-up letter to parents regarding the positive Covid-19 student last week. She said the LCO Ojibwe School returned to normal classes on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and that a small number of students had been asked to stay home for 14 days who were believed to have possible contact with the student.


Hutchison told the LCO News increasing positive numbers in the community is making it harder and harder to keep COVID out of all the schools in the area.   


"At this point there have not been any cases that we are aware of that have spread from student to student or staff to student," Hutchison explained. "I can attribute this to the extensive efforts that students and staff put forth every day, every hour to stay safe. We are constantly sanitizing, reinforcing social distancing and responsible behavior. Our cleaning crew has added a weekly fogging of the entire building to the sanitizing efforts, which also includes buses and playground equipment."  

When asked about the status of the school moving forward, Hutchison stated, "Keeping the school open for in person learning will continue to be dependent on the ability of the community to stay safe and control the spread of the virus. Like I have said over and over, if our kindergarteners can do what is necessary to keep each other safe by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands, then I think everyone else should be able to as well."


Here is the follow-up letter followed by the original announcement on Friday, Oct. 9.


Attention Parents & Guardians


In response to the reported positive case of COVID-19 in the elementary school, exhaustive efforts were taken to contact trace with staff, to review camera footage of all areas that the student may have come into contact with other children & adults, and to thoroughly disinfect the entire building with a sterilizing fogger.


A small number of parents have been contacted to monitor their child’s symptoms and to stay home from school for 14 days, though there have not been any students that have been identified as Close Contacts.


Students and staff are able to return to on campus instruction on Tuesday, October 13th, following the observance of Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday, October 12th which had previously been designated a holiday with classes cancelled. Parents opting for virtual learning must contact the school & complete a Distance Learning Compact.


Questions or concerns can be directed to my office at 715 634-8924, extension 1229. Thank you as always for your continued support of the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School & stay safe.


Original Announcement


This is to inform you that we recently received notification that an elementary student has tested positive for COVID-19. In accordance with our safety protocols, the notification of a positive case has been shared with our local tribal health center, the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School Board, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Contact tracing will be conducted by the Sawyer County Health Department (SCHD) in cooperation with Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe School Staff. Anyone who is a close contact of the positive case will be notified directly by SCHD.


Though the news of our first positive case is difficult to report, please be assured that we at the school are and will continue to take all recommended precautions to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and community, including required quarantines and testing for all impacted students and staff. A thorough deep cleaning will be provided to the entire building, vehicles, and equipment prior to any students returning to the building. Please stay tuned to social media and robo calls for further information regarding returning to classes.


We will continue to advise parents to keep students home from school if they are sick. Students that are ill or have been in contact with a positive case are required to notify the school immediately. As always, parents and families are encouraged to practice frequent handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing masks or face coverings, staying home as much as possible, and avoiding large gatherings.